Perrottet has committed to tackling street harassment, particularly in public spaces after dark, by spending $30 million over the next two years to provide better lighting and more CCTV cameras in public parks.
Initially, the funding will be directed towards Paramatta Park and The Rocks area, though many more spaces, both within Sydney and rurally will also be included. Specific locations will be announced in the coming months.
The NSW government will also launch an anti-street harassment campaign aimed at shifting the attitudes of the community.
"When women are walking home from work they shouldn’t have to fear what's lurking in the shadows," Treasurer Matt Kean said in a statement.
In Australia, one in four women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. The NSW government is attempting to tackle this woeful statistic by announcing a $4.8 million boost that will go towards a taskforce via Safe Work NSW, which will assist employers to introduce anti-harassment initiatives within their workplaces.
The task force will have a specific focus on industries that are particularly male dominated, and it will hold employers to account if they don't carry out the initiatives.
A whopping $69 million will go towards an integrated support system for victims of domestic violence, called Safer Pathways.
It will allocated the money for more and improved case management services, as well as improving the police database which is used to refer victims to support services.
In another huge win, the funding will also go towards some 50 NSW courts to improve audio-visual link facilities—this means that victims of domestic violence can provide evidence remotely. NSW will also introduce court-appointed officers who will be specially trained to cross-examine victim survivors.
These additional elements are a big step forward in avoiding even more trauma in victims who go through the court process against their abuser. In April, Hayley Foster, CEO of rape and domestic violence support organisation Full Stop Australia, said that women were coming out of the process feeling like a "tool".
"Their experiences are just dismissed… they're having to justify why they're retelling their story, so from the victim's perspective, they're asking, 'What am I getting out of this? I'm getting retraumatised, there is no validation'," she told ELLE Australia.
There's no doubt this funding is a huge step forward for women's safety in New South Wales—it will not only making some places feel safer, but, with any hope, it will help to change attitudes and bring more awareness to the violence problem we face.
But there's another piece to the puzzle that we desperately need to fill—longterm housing for women who have been displaced. Per the Older Women's Network, domestic violence is the single biggest cause for homelessness in Australia, and on any given night, 49,000 women face homelessness.
The New South Wales government, and indeed the Australian government are yet to put forward any long term solutions to this crisis. It's an issue that's long been overlooked and under-discussed, and that needs to end.
To bring more awareness, Are Media is calling on the government to provide more than 16,000 homes and create 47,000 jobs for women affected by this. Join us in calling on the major parties by signing our petition.