Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, said that today, International Women’s Day, was a time to think about the right of all women to live free of violence whether they live in an urban, remote or rural community.
Speaking about International Women’s Day on Channel Ten’s ‘Breakfast’ this morning, Commissioner Broderick said that steps need to be taken to improve awareness of the specific barriers faced by victims and survivors of domestic and family violence in rural areas.
“The barriers that all women face in finding assistance when they are living with domestic and family violence are particularly exacerbated in rural areas,” said Commissioner Broderick. “Among other things, victims and survivors in rural areas face geographical isolation, a limited number of shelters, limited education and employment opportunities, difficulties in accessing justice, health, communications and other services and difficulties in implementing prevention initiatives.”
Ms Broderick said that these barriers are often greater for those rural women who are maginalised, such as those with a disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and women from a non-English speaking background.
“All women have a right to live their lives free of violence, whether they live in Fitzroy Valley in Western Australia, far north Queensland, rural Tasmania or in one of our large capital cities." Ms Broderick said.
Commissioner Broderick said that a number of actions for rural women have already been identified in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, including anti violence training for health workers in rural areas.
She emphasised the over-arching imperative of providing sufficient services in remote and rural areas.
“If we don’t pay attention to the realities of rural women, our responses to violence will ultimately prove ineffectual,” Commissioner Broderick said. “The right to live free of violence is not dependent on where a woman lives – so our responses shouldn’t be either.”
Commissioner Broderick has just returned, on Monday, from the 56th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York City, which focused on the empowerment of rural women.
Media contact: Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529
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