The Palaszczuk Government is calling on the Townsville community to attend a community forum to have their say on how best to prevent sexual violence.
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer said the forum, to be held on Friday April 5, is a way that Queenslanders can help to develop a Sexual Violence Prevention Framework in Queensland.
“The statistics around sexual violence in Australia are just appalling,” she said.
“One in five women over the age of fifteen has experienced sexual assault, and one in twenty men.
“If you are a woman with an intellectual disability, there’s a ninety percent chance you’ve been assaulted.
“Sexual violence covers a spectrum from sexual harassment, technology facilitated abuse, right through to sexual assault and rape.
“What we’re hearing as we go through this process, is that everyone knows someone, everyone knows more than one person who’s been affected, and yet seventy percent of assaults go unreported.
“We need to start having a conversation about this, and victims and survivors need to know there is support out there.
“The forum is a great opportunity to have your say about what services you think government and non-government services should be providing, and how you think they could all be working better together.
“What do you want us to know that can change the way we talk about sexual violence, or how we can prevent it?”
Ms Farmer said that in addition to the open two hour forum, there would also be a closed forum just for victims and survivors to have their say.
“Some victims and survivors might not walk to talk in public, even in a closed group, so we have an online portal as well where you can provide your feedback, or you can email us directly.
“We also have a youth eHub where young people aged between 12 to 25 can talk to us in a safe space.
“You don’t need to write some kind of formal submission or anything like that – we just what to hear what you think, however you want to tell us.
“Our online portal will also be monitored so that if we identify anyone who might be in distress from this, so can make sure that people are supported and connected to people who can help.”
Ms Farmer said the Sexual Violence Prevention Framework would provide a comprehensive approach to preventing and responding to sexual violence and bring together sexual violence prevention work happening across the government.
“We are already doing quite a lot in this space, including funding sexual assault services and rolling out the Respectful Relationships program across all our state schools,” she said.
“We are absolutely determined to do everything we can to prevent sexual violence, and to provide the support that victims and survivors need.
“That’s why we’re developing this Sexual Violence Prevention Framework, but to make sure it’s effective and does what we need it to do, we need to hear from everyone.
“Sometimes the people who can tell us most about what we need to be doing, what services need to link up better, what actually helps, are people who have been affected by sexual violence in some way.”
Ms Farmer said the state’s new Sexual Violence Prevention Roundtable, consisting of representatives from the community and the sector, academic experts and senior government representatives, recently met for the first time.
The forum will take place at 10am on Friday 5 April at the Mecure Hotel, 166 Woolcock Street, Townsville.
You can register to attend the forum until 5pm April 4 at: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/59147320227