Rosie Batty: Family violence 'social epidemic of our time'

ROSIE BATTY will today tell Parliament what Australia must do to reduce the rates of violence against women and children.

Ms Batty is likely the nation's most recognised and respected campaigner against domestic or family violence, whose drive and passion earned her the title of Australian of the Year 2015.

The Victorian mum was firmly embedded in the national consciousness after her 11-year-old son, Luke, was murdered by his father in February 2014.

Her war on the shadowy violence of the home is one she wants all of Australia to join.

"Family violence is the greatest social epidemic of our time; it is corroding the fabric of Australian society," she said.

"The damage it does to women's ability to participate in everyday life is enormous.

"One in three Australian women - regardless of age, ethnicity, birth place, social economic circumstances, level of education and geographical location - will experience a physical and/or sexual assault in their lifetime.

"The elimination of violence against women must remain a priority for all governments. Investment in prevention and frontline services is the only way we will reduce this blight from our society."

Ms Batty will be the key speaker at the Parliamentarians Against Family Violence forum in Canberra today.

The forum is organised by Labor's Tim Watts, Nationals MP Andrew Broad and Liberal MP Ken Wyatt in an effort to develop policies that span all three major parties.

Our Watch chief Paul Linossier will also speak at the event.

Our Watch aims to encourage Australians to think and act differently when it comes to violence against women and children.

"Rosie has, and continues to, face unimaginable pain as a result of family violence. She speaks to the circumstance of millions of Australian women who have experienced physical, sexual and/or psychological violence," Mr Linossier said.

"In Australia, violence against women is the leading contributor to ill health and disability in women aged 15-44 and this is unacceptable.

"The good news is that violence against women and their children is preventable - Australia can choose to be a nation where women and their children live free from fear, intimidation and control.

"The evidence is clear - we can prevent violence against women and their children if we address inequalities in power, challenge gender stereotypes and promote broad based attitudinal and behavioural change.

"It is vital that leadership on this issue reverberates across all governments and institutions.."

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000


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