Culture

Waleed Aly Speaks Out For Australian Victims Of Domestic Violence In Pre-Budget Smackdown

"By this time next week, domestic violence will cost another woman in Australia her life. She won’t be able to raise her hand, so I’ll raise mine."

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Today may be budget day, but the real analysis will come tomorrow, the next day and in following weeks, as the experts, the media, and the plucky few who happen to be both dissect what the figures really mean for Australia.

On this evening’s The Project, which aired on Channel Ten just prior to Joe Hockey’s budget speech on the ABC, Waleed Aly highlighted one of the many groups expected to be overlooked: the victims of domestic violence in Australia.

“I’d like to put my hand up on behalf of a group of Australians who might be unable to, or are too afraid to. Or when they do ask for help, they’re too often turned away,” he says. “I’m talking about Australian women, who are regularly beaten, abused and killed by Australian men, usually their partners.”

Last year, 18,631 people tried to call the domestic violence counselling hotline 1800 RESPECT, and failed to get through. As Aly points out, the hotline needs $2.8 million each year to answer those calls — only 1/20th of what we’ll spend on this year’s National School Chaplaincy Programme, which was announced in last year’s budget. “Show me the money.”

Drawing from Fair Agenda’s ‘What Will It Take?’ report, Aly also cites the 150,000 people who were denied community legal services last financial year, and the 423 turned away from homeless shelters each night. “Many are women, and many are the more than one million Australian kids affected by domestic violence,” he says.

He also has a few words for the men. “I’m also putting my hand up for men. For the Aussie blokes out there who settle family arguments with their fists, often in front of their kids. The guys who engage in psychological torture, and have their partners feeling trapped with nowhere to go. And I’m especially putting my hand up for the blokes out there who, since the start of the year, have murdered 24 Aussie women who were either current or former partners. That’s not one a week. It’s more like one every five days.

“I’m putting my hand up for funding for these guys, because these guys need help.”

“By this time next week, [domestic violence] will cost another woman in Australia her life. She won’t be able to raise her hand, so I’ll raise mine. And you should too. Starting tonight, when the nation is focused on its spending, every one of us should make one simple demand: ‘Show me the money’.”

 

To read more about Fair Agenda’s ‘What Will It Take?’ report and campaign, head here.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) offers counselling, support or assistance for anyone who has experienced sexual assault or family violence.