Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has put her full support behind the recent community push to get laws changed to introduce harsher sentencing for people who commit violent crimes against women and children. Ms McGowan said community safety was paramount, particularly for women living in rural and regional Australia.
“Women need to feel safe in their homes and communities. For many women this is currently not the case,” she said. “I believe that addressing the problem of violence against women needs a whole-of community approach. Everybody needs to stand up, speak out and take action.”
This Sunday, the public rally ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ will be held in Wangaratta.
“Congratulations to organisers, Tania Maxwell and Carol Roadknight, for taking the initiative on this important issue,” Ms McGowan said. “The rally’s call is for community safety to be the number one priority. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it is vital the community stands up, speaks out and takes action to get change to make women feel safer.”
Ms McGowan said laws must reflect community sentiment and people must trust in our court system to deliver appropriate sentences.
“I’m proud to see people in Wangaratta are standing up, speaking out and taking action,” she said.
Ms McGowan welcomes the Federal Government’s $100 million Women’s Safety Package, and has committed to taking issues from the rally that can be resolved at the Federal level to Canberra.
Following the 2009 bushfires in North East Victoria, family violence increased. Women’s Health Goulburn North East, based in Wangaratta, undertook groundbreaking research work on the issue of family violence, including ‘Preventing Violence Against Girls and Women Before it Occurs’ and ‘Beating the Flames – Women escaping and surviving Black Saturday’.
Ms McGowan will continue her work calling on the Government to change the rules which currently allow self-represented litigants to directly cross-examine vulnerable witnesses in the Family Court.
The focus of International Women’s Day this year is to stop violence against women and girls. Ms McGowan looks forward to attending IWD events in Indi, as well as a Year 11 Girls Career breakfast in Wangaratta next week.
Tuesday, 8 March –International Women’s Day, Tawonga – 11am; International Women’s Day Dinner – Zonta Club Albury-Wodonga – 6.30pm
Thursday, 10 March - Zonta Year 11 Girls Career Breakfast, Gateway Hotel, Wangaratta – 7.30am