Release of the Final Report of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children

The final report of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children was provided to COAG on Friday, 1 April 2016. See this page for a link to download the report, and this page for background information concerning the work of the panel.

Yes, add this to the already long list of Australian government inquiries into domestic violence. The mind boggles at the combined costs of these reports. It would surely be enough to pay for – oh, let’s see – behaviour management programs for female offenders in each state plus a network of refuges for men and *their* children.

It would be one thing if these inquiries were reaching out to different groups and generating new and different ideas – but in the case of gender issues like DV the reverse is true. It’s always the same faces on the panels, consulting the same groups, bringing forward the same ideas based on the same ideology. And all the while with no concrete progress being made save for a succession of costly PR-value-only campaigns farmed out to the same ‘old girls club’ consultancies.

The Panel delivered its preliminary advice to COAG in July 2015. The Australian Government adopted all of the Panel’s recommendations through the $100 million Women’s Safety Package.

The Panel delivered its second report in December 2015 and recommended priority actions which were all endorsed by COAG. This included a national domestic violence order scheme, the development of national outcome standards for perpetrator interventions, and a national approach to dealing with technology-facilitated abuse.

The members of the Advisory Panel are Ken Lay (Chairman), Rosie Batty (Deputy Chair), Heather Nancarrow (Deputy Chair), Maria Hagias, Darren Hine, Dr Victoria Hovane, Ms Tracy Howe, Mr Edward Mosby, Ms Julie Oberin, The Hon Bess Price MLA, and Ms Sue Salthouse.

“The Panel recommends that a new approach be adopted by all governments to achieve generational and lasting change:

  • Men must be held to account for their actions and supported to change
  • Responses must focus on empowering women and their children to make informed choices
  • Political leaders, businesses, industry and the broader community all need to commit to collective, long-term action to improve gender equality and change violence supportive attitudes
  • Children and young people must be recognised as victims of violence against women
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need trauma informed responses, and
  • Integrated responses are required to keep women and their children safe.

The Panel’s Final Report includes 28 recommendations for COAG’s consideration, with innovative, practical and deliverable options for further joint Commonwealth, state and territory work to reduce violence against women and their children.”

This is the first I had heard of this report, and even then I only became aware of it via reading the Twitter stream of a feminist politician. So much for publicising the exercise beyond the feminist encampment.

“In developing its advice, Panel members undertook over 120 separate consultations with stakeholders and experts in primary prevention, victim support services, perpetrator treatment, technology, law enforcement, research and education, and the business community.

Targeted consultations were also undertaken to discuss specific issues in relation to children, women with disabilities, women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children.”

How many such consultations were with father’s or mens rights groups or advocates? I have scrolled through the list in the report, and I can’t recognise any. Of those groups and individuals who were approached for input, were there many that did not subscribe to the dominant feminist view of domestic violence? Was there even one?

Based on my first glance at the report it appears to ignore male victims entirely. In fact I just word-searched the report using the term ‘male victims’ and got not one hit. Not an encouraging sign, yet not unexpected. The report also clearly implies that all perpetrators of domestic violence are male. And irony of ironies, there is a section on gender bias amongst people working with DV victims which only acknowledges gender bias against women.

Just to remind readers, if it were even necessary, that at least one in three victims of domestic violence are male.

I honestly cannot fathom how the panel members, all of whom would probably have fathers/brothers/sons, can sleep at night knowing they were complicit in an exercise wherein the basic human rights of so many were so cruelly disregarded.

Elsewhere in this blog you might also be interested in reading:

So what exactly is the ‘Domestic Violence Industry’?

Two awareness campaigns. Only one can be criticised. Cowed by feminism?

Australian taxpayer-funded organisations that do little/nothing for men (other than demonising them)

3 thoughts on “Release of the Final Report of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children”

  1. “How many such consultations were with father’s or mens rights groups? How many were with any groups or individuals who did not subscribe to the dominant feminist view of domestic violence? Was there even one?”

    Great questions. To which I might add “Women and THEIR Children” (emphasis mine). Could easily have been presented as ‘women and children’, but a conscious choice has been made to presented women as the primary care givers and ‘owners’ of children.

    Maybe I have missed something, but aren’t we supposed to challenge traditional gender roles and the default assumption that women are the primary care givers? And filicide …remind me what the stats say about the perpetrators?

  2. On the same day I uploaded this post I requested (from the relevant Dept.) details of the remuneration received by members of the Panel. I did not receive a response, so on 19 April I again requested that this info be provided via two separate emails to COAG Secretariat and to the Dept. of Prime Minister & Cabinet. As of 27 April no response was forthcoming so I emailed a 3rd request to the Deptl. Complaints section, querying whether an FOI request was perhaps a more appropriate option. I received the following response and subsequently lodged an FOI request:

    “The Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence Against Women and their Children (the Panel) is a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) appointed panel to provide independent advice to the Council and are not a registered Federal Government board.

    The Panel delivered its final report to COAG on 1 April 2016 and is now formally concluded. The Panel’s remuneration was based on schedule B – Daily Fees under remuneration tribunal ruling for part-time officers found here.

    If you need more specific information in relation to the payment of the COAG Advisory Panel members you will need to make a request through the FOI process. Details on this process are found here.”

  3. I have today received the results of my FOI request regarding remuneration of panel members:

    “I refer to your email below dated 10 May 2016. I’m writing to let you know that the Department does not consider your request to be a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), because you are seeking access to information rather than documents.

    Section 11 of the FOI Act provides a right of access to existing documents of an agency, rather than information. The terms of your request are framed to seek access to information rather than a particular document. The FOI Act does not require the Department to create a document in response to your request. You may wish to consider reframing your request by reference to a document that contains particular information.

    The Department does not expect to hold a document that details the total remuneration received by each member of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence Against Women and their Children, since the formation of that Panel. Nonetheless, you may find the following information meets your enquiry:

    · The remuneration of Panel members is based on the Remuneration Tribunal guidelines and fall within the Government’s daily cap of $1,500.

    · The Chair of the Panel is remunerated a daily sitting fee (pro rata) of $1,500. This fee is the same as the role of Chair for the National Ice Taskforce.

    · The Deputy Chairs of the Panel are being remunerated a daily sitting fee of $1,000 (pro rata).

    · The members of the Panel are being remunerated a daily sitting fee of $875 (pro rata).

    · Any costs associated with travel are met directly by the Department.

    · Panel members who are ministers or state government employees were not paid a daily fee. However, any costs associated with travel were met directly by the Department.

    · The Panel met ten times and the total cost of these meetings was $159,000.”

    As this, particularly the last dot point, is somewhat ambiguous I intend to request further details. I was subsequently advised that the $159,000 amount provided includes “sitting fees, travel, accommodation, room hire and catering”.

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