Royal Commission into Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence – now open for submissions!

Content warning: This article discusses domestic and family violence, which may be a distressing topic for some readers. If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic, family or sexual violence, you can access support through services such as Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, 1800RESPECT on 1800 55 1800 or 13 YARN on 13 92 76.

You are invited to have your say in shaping the Royal Commission into Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence.

The Royal Commission commenced on 1 July 2024, and has released an issues paper calling for advice, suggestions and ideas on systems improvements to deliver better outcomes for people affected by domestic, family and sexual violence.

The Royal Commission is focusing on four key areas:

              • Prevention – facilitating widespread change in the underlying social drivers of domestic, family and sexual violence
              • Early intervention – improving effective early identification, identifying and supporting individuals who are at high risk of experiencing or perpetrating domestic, family and sexual violence
              • Response – ensuring best practice responses to domestic, family and sexual violence, including adequate and appropriate services and supports
              • Recovery and healing – reducing the risk of re-traumatisation and supporting victim-survivors to be safe and healthy.

It will also look at how these efforts can be better integrated and coordinated across government and in the community.

The impacts of domestic, family and sexual violence on children and young people include lifelong physical and psychological health issues, disrupted attachment and social relationships, and diminishing their sense of safety, wellbeing and overall development. Contemporary research shows a strong statistical correlation between growing up in households where domestic and family violence is present, and coming into care or contact with police. You can read more about this in one of our previous blogs.

As the impacts for children and young people are so significant, it is absolutely vital that the Royal Commission hears directly from children and young people and considers their views and experiences. The Guardian was pleased to meet late last month with Royal Commissioner, Natasha Stott-Despoja AO, and welcomes the Royal Commission’s commitment to hearing from children and young people. As Shona told us,

“I am committed to continually deepening our understanding of the experiences and past trauma that so many children and young people in care and detention have faced. We owe it to them to have hard conversations about the impacts of domestic and family violence upon their lives, and keep striving to find ways to better prevent violence and help them heal.

As the adults in the room, we need to be intentional about our work to bring our whole community on board in this goal, whether that be as family members, carers, advocates, role models and service providers.

The process of hearing from victims and survivors of domestic and family violence – especially children and young people – is hard for all of us, but so very important. Children and young people’s direct voices are essential in influencing change in our communities. But raising their unique needs and experiences is something we can all do, to ensure that protecting and promoting healing for children and young people are front and centre in this Royal Commission.

My message to everyone who works with or cares for children and young people who have been impacted by domestic, family and sexual violence – speak up with them, and for them. Get a submission in and get the word out, we need to make the voices of children and young people the loudest in the room.”

Written responses to the issues paper are due on Friday 16 August 2024, and the Guardian encourages everyone who has something to say to get involved! In September, the Royal Commission will also release their ‘Share With Us’ online tool, with options such as audio messages for those who prefer sharing by speaking instead of writing.

You can find out more on the Royal Commission’s website – including an easy read version of the issues paper, and how to make a written submission.

And…speaking of getting involved…with NAIDOC Week commencing on Sunday 7 July, our team will be out and about this week engaging with children, young people and families, to celebrate Aboriginal cultures, histories and achievements.

Keep an eye out for the Guardian’s blog next week to see what we’ve been up to – and remember that there are so many ways that you can also participate in this important week. You can also check out some of the events on the NAIDOC SA website including the NAIDOC SA March and Family Festival this Friday.  Keep the Fires Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud.

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