International day for the elimination of violence against women and girls
[by Angela Yin]
Linda Ford. Image: supplied
In a show of global solidarity, the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is endorsing the United Nations call for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls.
AASW National Vice President Linda Ford said the 2020 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls (25 November) marks 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence that concludes on the 10 December 2020, International Human Rights Day.
“AASW is calling for national action, with violence against women continuing to be our national shame and further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Reports show that due to the lockdown measures introduced to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an alarming increase in the existing pandemic of violence against women and a disproportional increased rate of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.”
“Social workers have seen these increases daily and despite their best efforts are struggling to meet the demand. While calls for support to women’s legal services, frontline family violence services and police were down during lockdowns across the country, now with restriction easing, demand is escalating as women take steps to leave abusive partners.”
“There have also, sadly, been 41 deaths of women by violence this year, which is especially concerning as we move into the holiday period when violence tends to intensify,” she said.
Ms Ford said a tragic but avoidable statistic is that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women and girls are more likely to be affected by domestic and family violence.
“Family violence was never part of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities”. It is a stain on this country and we need to do better in collaboration with these communities.”
“We need real action to happen with domestic and family violence. Particularly for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities to prevent further physical and mental trauma and death by violence and suicide due to domestic and family violence in this country.”
“We call on governments of all levels to do more to prevent violence against women and girls in the first instance, but to also increase funding and services for the long-term recovery of those already affected. These services need to be provided by social workers who have expertise in systems navigation and trauma-informed practices,” Ms Ford said.
In March 2016, the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence released its recommendations for improving the current system and building structures to aid the long-term reform program for all aspects of family violence.
In 2018, the AASW launched a specific Family Violence Credential with the input of sector knowledge leaders and practitioners. The Accredited Family Violence Social Worker (AFVSW) credential contributes to increased capabilities and expertise of a significant component of the Family Violence workforce in Australia by harnessing the AASW’s role as regulator of social work education and provider of post-qualifying credentials.
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