Commonwealth, state and territory governments are committed to delivering on the national priorities of the Fourth Action Plan.
We are delivering over 160 initiatives, covering the full range of responses needed to tackle domestic, family and sexual violence — from initiatives to prevent violence through to initiatives to improve services and supports for those experiencing violence.
On this page
- Implementing the Fourth Action Plan
- Context for the initiatives of the Fourth Action Plan
- Roles and responsibilities
- Stakeholder engagement and communications
- Monitoring, reporting and evaluation
Implementing the Fourth Action Plan
The vision of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 (the National Plan) is that Australian women and their children live free from violence in safe communities. The National Plan provides a framework for action by the Commonwealth state and territory governments, connecting the important work of each jurisdiction towards achieving this vision.
The National Plan has been supported by a series of three‐year action plans, allowing governments to respond to emerging priorities and new evidence. The Fourth Action Plan 2019–2022 is the final action plan of the National Plan, and it builds on the work of the three previous action plans to outline principles, national priorities and collective actions to address domestic, family and sexual violence.
This implementation plan for the Fourth Action Plan outlines the initiatives that Commonwealth, state and territory governments will deliver, and provides information on their funding, milestones, intended outcomes and connection to Fourth Action Plan actions and priority areas. Together, these initiatives represent the range of responses needed to address domestic, family and sexual violence.
Responsible agencies across jurisdictions have provided updates to the National Implementation Plan for their respective 4AP initiatives. The original National Implementation Plan is available for reference.
Details on initiatives will also be updated as part of Annual Progress Reporting, to provide information on implementation status and report on progress towards achieving national priorities.
Context for the initiatives of the Fourth Action Plan
While the Fourth Action Plan provides the overall framework for action by all governments, the work of each jurisdiction links to local strategies, and reflects local priorities and needs.
The Commonwealth investment for the Fourth Action Plan focuses on key areas where the Commonwealth is best placed to contribute to creating real and lasting change to reduce violence against women and their children. A core focus of the Commonwealth Government’s contribution is in prevention — stopping violence before it starts by changing community attitudes to violence, and emphasising the importance of equality and respect.
The Commonwealth is also maintaining its investment in the services that keep Australians safe, and providing targeted support to meet the diverse needs of women from all backgrounds including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Commonwealth Government is also committing to providing safe places for those escaping family and domestic violence. This includes:
- providing new emergency accommodation for women and children escaping violence
- investing in training for workers on the frontline and in local communities to help them provide their vital support.
In addition to this, two further measures were provided in the 2019–20 Federal Budget to support people affected by violence. These are:
- $7.8 million for dedicated men’s support workers in all Family Advocacy and Support Services (FASS)
- $4.9 million to better support former partners of veterans impacted by domestic violence, by removing an inequity between married and de facto partners by extending the Partner Service Pension for 12 months post-separation to all former partners.
New South Wales
The NSW Government is committed to increasing safety for women and their children, with significant investment in efforts to address and prevent domestic, family and sexual violence. The strategic direction for state-wide action is set out in the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Blueprint for Reform 2016–2021 and a key Premier’s Priority focuses on reducing the rate of domestic violence reoffending.
The NSW Sexual Assault Strategy 2018–2021 complements and supports the extensive NSW Government response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to improve the prevention and response to sexual assault in all situations, including family, institutional and community contexts. In addition, significant work is being undertaken in the NSW Women’s Strategy 2018–2022 to address gender inequality and inequity as drivers of violence, and investment under the Homelessness Strategy, Carers Strategy and Ageing Strategy target initiatives to address particular groups of vulnerable women, particularly older women who can experience high levels of homelessness, violence and abuse.
The Victorian Government is keeping its promise to protect women and children and hold perpetrators to account, with an unprecedented investment to end family violence. The government is committed to building a future where:
- all Victorians live free from family violence
- women and men are treated equally and respectfully.
To achieve this, the government is implementing every one of the 227 recommendations made by the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. This commitment is backed with a historic investment of more than $2.7 billion to keep women, children and families safe.
At their core, family violence and violence against women are deeply gendered issues rooted in structural inequalities and an imbalance of power between women and men. All Australians must work together to change community attitudes towards women in order to prevent violence from happening in the first place. This is why, alongside its strong commitment to systems reform, the Victorian Government is also:
- developing gender equality legislation
- investing significantly in community-focused campaigns aimed at influencing the way people think about gender and violence
- addressing the intersectionality in family violence.
Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change outlines the breadth and depth of the commitment to ending family violence, and outlines the extensive reforms under way in Victoria.
The Queensland Government is continuing its efforts to eliminate domestic and family violence through the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2016–2026. The Strategy sets the direction for collaborative action to end domestic and family violence in Queensland over a staged 10-year journey.
The Strategy prioritises the safety of victims of domestic and family violence, as well as the accountability of perpetrators. The key areas of reform are early intervention, prevention, crisis response, and recovery.
In September 2019, the Third Action Plan to the Strategy was released, which builds on the significant reform work that has been completed. The Plan provides a blueprint for government and the community to work together to continue to deliver positive changes.
Signature initiatives of the Third Action Plan include:
- partnering with business and community to strengthen responses to and prevention of domestic and family violence
- embedding Respectful Relationships Education in Queensland Schools
- increasing economic participation of and access to safe, secure housing for women affected by domestic and family violence and their children
- enhancing integrated service responses and service sector capacity to respond effectively to those who experience domestic and family violence.
The Third Action Plan is strategically aligned with the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010–2022 and the actions will contribute to the implementation of the National Fourth Action Plan.
The Western Australian Government’s Stopping Family and Domestic Violence Policy commits to reducing the impact of family and domestic violence through a comprehensive package of initiatives that address victim safety, perpetrator accountability, a more responsive justice system, and prevention and early intervention.
The WA Government has committed $53 million in new funding towards new responses that support the priorities of the Fourth Action Plan, including:
- The establishment of two new family and domestic violence “One Stop Hubs” to provide integrated, wrap-around services to make it easier for victims to get help sooner.
- Strengthening victim safety with an investment towards an electronic monitoring trial for high-risk domestic violence offenders who have breached violence restraining orders.
- Funding for WA Police Force to develop a Family Violence Code of Practice and training for frontline police officers.
- Enhancing responses to Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, through the provision of culturally appropriate support services.
- Establishing further interventions to support perpetrators of violence to change their behaviour.
- Expanding the family and domestic violence refuge and service system to increase access to safety for women and children.
- Introducing the Western Australian Respectful Relationship Teaching Support Program in selected WA schools.
A long-term whole of government and community strategy for reducing family and domestic violence in WA is currently in development and will align to key related national and state policies and strategies including the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.
South Australia’s Implementation Plan for the Fourth Action Plan will be implemented in partnership with all South Australians, in particular non-government organisations. These include:
- women’s domestic violence services
- health, housing and homelessness services
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations
- community groups
- the media.
The Plan outlines some of the key actions in Committed to Safety — South Australia’s Framework to Prevent Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence (The Framework or Committed to Safety).
As well as including our election commitments, Committed to Safety includes a range of actions relevant to several government agencies. The Framework features three pillars of response:
- Primary prevention
- Service and support
- Justice (legislative, statutory and community).
It is underpinned by two enablers:
- data and evidence base
- monitoring our impact and oversight.
Featured actions cover all three pillars, and the actions are broken down into short, medium and long-term.
Other actions focus on specific population groups including:
- young people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- women with disabilities
- culturally and linguistically diverse people
- older women
- people living in regional and remote communities.
The Framework seeks to align itself with a holistic and whole-of-family understanding of domestic, family and sexual violence, acknowledging that all people in the family and kinship system are affected by the perpetration of violence and abuse.
South Australia’s Fourth Action Plan Implementation Plan and Committed to Safety build upon a wide range of responses already in place including:
- emergency services that provide specific support and treatment services for women who have experienced violence
- crime prevention activities that specifically address violence against women
- health services including mental health and drug and alcohol services
- educational programs to address bullying, harassment and discrimination
- police services that respond to and prevent violent crimes against women
- court resources for criminal and civil cases.
South Australia is committed to working with all governments (Commonwealth, state, territory, and local) and the community to end violence against women and their children.
Eliminating family and sexual violence is a key priority for the Tasmanian Government.
On 1 July 2019, the Premier and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, the Hon Will Hodgman MP, launched Safe Homes, Families, Communities: Tasmania’s action plan for family and sexual violence 2019–2022 (Safe Homes, Families, Communities). This sets out to invest $26 million over three years for 40 actions to prevent and respond to family and sexual violence in Tasmania.
Safe Homes, Families, Communities represents the next stage of the Tasmanian Government’s long-term commitment to preventing and responding to family violence and a new response to sexual violence. It outlines a vision for the state where:
- all Tasmanians are safe, equal and respected
- all homes, families and communities are free from all forms of family and sexual violence.
Safe Homes, Families, Communities actions build on and complement other policies, programs and services that support the prevention of and respond to family and sexual violence in Tasmania. These include:
- Safe at Home, Tasmania’s integrated, criminal justice response to family violence
- delivery of community-based specialist family and sexual violence services across the state.
While implementation of the National Plan in Tasmania is largely through Safe Homes, Families, Communities, a number of other policies, programs and services delivered across government align with the National Plan outcomes and will support implementation of individual actions. These include:
- Tasmanian Women’s Strategy 2018–2021; Financial Security for Women Action Plan 2018–2021 and Women on Boards Strategy 2015–2020
- Affordable Housing Strategy 2015–2025 and Affordable Housing Action Plan 2019–2023
- Resetting the Relationship with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community Agenda
- Child and Student Wellbeing Strategy 2018–2021: Safe, Well and Positive Learners
- Child and Youth Wellbeing Framework
- Strong Families, Safe Kids: Redesign of Child Protection Services Tasmania
- Youth At Risk Strategy
- Respect and Protect Older Tasmanians: Tasmania’s Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy 2019–2022
- Strong, liveable communities: Tasmania’s Active Ageing Plan 2017–2022
- Accessible Island: Tasmania’s Disability Framework for Action 2018–2021
- Tasmanian Carer Action Plan 2017–2020.
Australian Capital Territory
In 2016, the ACT Government made a historic funding commitment under the ACT Government Response to Family Violence to address domestic and family violence. This is funded by a new $30 household levy. This first phase of new investment:
- strengthened the capacity of frontline services to respond to domestic and family violence
- progressed important law reform
- improved coordination across government
- built important partnerships with the community sector
- allowed for the testing of promising new approaches.
The role of the Coordinator General for Family Safety was created at this time to:
- provide strategic leadership, coordination and policy analysis to drive cultural change and system reform
- lead work to build capability to address gendered and other drivers of family and sexual coercion and violence
- support involvement in the ACT Government’s response to domestic and family violence.
With these important foundations in place, the ACT Budget 2019–20 commits its next tranche of targeted investment of $24 million over four years to tackle emerging problems and strengthening whole-of-government and community capability to address domestic and family violence.
Rates of domestic, family and sexual violence in the Northern Territory are three times higher than any other Australian jurisdiction. (1762 victims per 100 000 in 2018. Source: 4510.0 Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia 2018).
The Northern Territory Government has committed an additional $6.49 million per year for three years from 2019–20 for investment in domestic, family and sexual violence prevention, perpetrator intervention programs, and safety and recovery services for victims. This funding will help implement the first of three Action Plans of the Northern Territory’s 10-year Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Reduction Framework 2018–2028 – Safe, Respected and Free from Violence, with priorities aligning to those of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.
Projects and programs from the first Action Plan Changing Attitudes, Intervening Earlier and Responding Better (2018–21) include:
- developing a first-ever sexual violence prevention and response strategy;
- increased investment to support locally based violence prevention and early intervention projects;
- Investment in perpetrator intervention programs to enable women’s safety and perpetrator accountability;
- equipping frontline workers to better respond to victims of domestic, family and sexual violence;
- community awareness and education programs that change community attitudes;
- reviewing how we best keep women and children safe in remote communities; and
- implementing the Domestic Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme so that critical information can be shared between government and service providers at the right time for the safety of victims.
Roles and responsibilities
The governance structures that support the Fourth Action Plan include:
National Federation Reform Council
On 29 May 2020, the Prime Minister announced the continuation of National Cabinet, cessation of the Council of Australian Governments, and the formation of a new National Federation Reform Council (NFRC). For more information on NFRC can be found on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.
Women’s Safety Taskforce
On 29 May 2020, the Prime Minister also announced the creation of an NFRC Taskforce on Women’s Safety (Taskforce) to continue the critical work in reducing violence against women and their children. Under the NFRC framework states and territories will take collective action to reduce violence through the Fourth Action Plan.
The Terms of Reference of the Women’s Safety Taskforce are currently under consideration. More information on the Taskforce and the meeting outcomes from the former COAG Women’s Safety Council can be found on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.
National Plan Implementation Executive Group
The National Plan Implementation Executive Group (ImpEG) consists of senior officials from Commonwealth, state and territory governments. ImpEG is responsible for:
- supporting and monitoring the implementation of the Fourth Action Plan, including coordinating efforts across jurisdictions
- contributing to reporting and evaluation of the National Plan
- driving community engagement
- sharing experience and best practice between jurisdictions.
The initiatives of the Fourth Action Plan can be filtered by responsible government, identifying who is responsible for implementing, managing and delivering each initiative. National initiatives are those delivered jointly by the Commonwealth, and state and territory governments.
Our Watch was established to drive nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children. More information about Our Watch can be found at www.ourwatch.org.au
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children. More information about ANROWS can be found at www.anrows.org.au
Stakeholder engagement and communications
Ending violence against women and their children is everyone’s responsibility and everyone’s business.
As part of our commitment to supporting women and children, we will:
- Keep the community informed as we implement the Fourth Action Plan, by:
- updating the national implementation plan and formally reporting on our progress each year
- consulting with key organisations and people through existing advisory and consultative forums
- working with the six National Women’s Alliances representing almost 120 women’s organisations.
- Build awareness in the community about violence against women and their children and understanding ‘what works’ to reduce violence, by:
- delivering campaigns and community awareness strategies to improve community understanding and change attitudes and behaviours that can drive and support violence against women
- continuing to build the national evidence base about violence and understanding ‘what works’
- investing in national data sources including Personal Safety Survey (PSS) and National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS).
- Supporting the diverse information and accessibility needs of all women and their communities, by:
- sharing materials and resources for print and online, including a poster and factsheets
- developing in-language materials and resources
- designing our community engagement and consultation processes to be accessible and support participation of all women and their communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; women with disability; culturally and linguistically diverse communities; and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
- Develop policies and programs that reflect women and their communities’ expectations, needs and priorities, by:
- co-designing and commissioning community-led projects
- undertaking community engagement at appropriate times and through a range of mechanisms including drop-in information sessions, online forums, workshops and focus groups.
- Evaluate and measure our progress in a way that is meaningful to women and their communities, by:
- consulting with key stakeholders to develop an enhanced performance monitoring and reporting framework for the Fourth Action Plan
- reporting back to the community each year against the framework.
Monitoring, reporting and evaluation
At the start of the National Plan, governments agreed on six overarching National Outcomes to work towards. This also included how the success of each outcome would be measured over time, based on the best available data.
The outcomes are:
- Communities are safe and free from violence, as measured by increased intolerance of violence against women and their children (using the National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey [NCAS]).
- Relationships are respectful, as measured by improved knowledge, skills and behaviour of respectful relationships by young people (using the NCAS).
- Indigenous communities are strengthened, as measured by: the reduction in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who consider that family violence, assault and sexual assault are problems for their communities and neighbourhood; and increased proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are able to have their say within community on important issues including violence (using the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey [NATSISS]).
- Services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence, as measured by increased access to, and responsiveness of, services for victims of domestic, family and sexual violence (using Personal Safety Survey [PSS] and administrative data).
- Justice responses are effective, as measured by increased rates of women reporting domestic, family and sexual violence to police (using PSS and administrative data).
- Perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account, as measured by a decrease in repeated partner victimisation (using PSS and administrative data).
Since 2010, governments have continued to invest in the national evidence base and data sources to better understand and address violence against women and their children. The focus is on improving data on all cohorts of women at risk of violence and on all forms of violence that women and their children could experience.
Examples of data sources that can enhance our understanding of violence include the:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) crime statistics
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) compendia on domestic, family and sexual violence, the most recent of which was released in 2019.
Under the Fourth Action Plan, governments will:
- work together to build on the current measures of success
- identify and define clear indicators, and relevant data sources, to measure success
- focus on ‘mining’ existing data and information on violence to provide a useful picture of progress
- work towards addressing key gaps in the data
- use data to continually improve strategies
- continue to invest in the PSS and the NCAS as critical measures of progress towards reducing violence against women and their children.
The ABS will conduct a further wave of the PSS in 2020. The PSS collects information on the nature and extent of violence experienced by men and women in Australia.
The NATSISS provides information on a range of demographic, social, environmental and economic indicators, including estimates of the prevalence of violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The last NATSISS was conducted in 2014–15. The National Aboriginal and Torres Islander Health Survey was conducted in 2018–19 and included an additional module on violence, aligned with the NATSISS.
ANROWS will conduct another wave of the NCAS in 2021. The NCAS is a general population telephone survey of Australians aged 16 years and over, on their attitudes towards, and awareness of, violence against women.
Reporting and accountability
Governments will develop and agree on an enhanced performance monitoring and reporting framework to support the implementation of the Fourth Action Plan, including revised measures of success (with both short and medium-term measures).
Governments will report on their key achievements and progress under the Fourth Action Plan through national progress reports. These reports will be made available to the community and will be placed on the plan4womenssafety website. Reporting will enable all governments to monitor national progress against the long-term objectives of the National Plan, including any changes needed to improve the outcomes of the National Plan.
The Fourth Action Plan and overall National Plan will be evaluated to assess progress against objectives and inform the Australian Government’s future approach to reducing violence against women and their children. An evaluation plan will be developed in consultation with states and territories in the first year of the Fourth Action Plan. The overall evaluation will be informed by separate evaluations of key individual initiatives funded across jurisdictions under the Fourth Action Plan.