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Date set for women’s summit to ‘stop the rot’ of domestic violence

Domestic violence services are asking the federal government to repeat an injection of $150 million announced last year on the grounds that services cannot wait for the next national plan to start next year.

Senator Ruston said she had asked the state ministers to tell her how much of the $150 million they had spent, with the results likely to guide any negotiations over whether to spend more.

“I’m very keen to get that information so that we can make sure that programs into the future are targeted to areas of greatest need,” she said.

Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the meeting discussed a national approach to preventing coercive control, given her state’s pledge to legislate protections against the problem.

“Coercive control is a dangerous form of behaviour used by perpetrators to instil fear against victims – it’s controlling where a woman goes, who she sees, what she wears, how much access to money she has,” Ms Fentiman told ABC News.

“It’s tracking her movements through invasive surveillance devices. It is incredibly dangerous behaviour. It is our biggest predicting factor for intimate partner homicide.”

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Senator Ruston also named coercive control as an issue to address in the next national plan, as well as the use of social media and technology to compound abuse.

“I certainly think tech-facilitated abuse is a major, major issue in domestic violence. Unquestionably. And the anonymity of some of those accounts, I think, allow people a level of bravery that perhaps they wouldn’t have if they had to be identified,” Senator Ruston said.

“It is definitely an issue we should be investigating.”

The government has opened public consultation on the next plan to prevent violence against women and children via an online questionnaire.

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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