The Tasmanian Liberal Government likes to sell itself as "tough on crime". Unapologetic and bold, the government spruiks itself as having a zero-tolerance approach.
That approach extends to family violence. However, since The Examiner launched its family violence campaign Fighting Back, the masthead has been inundated with (mostly) women who want to share their stories and experiences. Its evident domestic violence is still scarily prominent in our communities, and there are still barriers for people who are seeking a family violence order.
One of those barriers seems on the surface to be a minor thing - a fee attached to the judge orders.
Those fleeing domestic violence situations are often in desperate circumstances, and in some cases, they flee with only the clothes on their back. In some instances, the controlling behaviour extends to finances, and the victim doesn't have access to any cash.
Fighting Back against family violence:
- 'I couldn't get away': for Lucy, fleeing family violence is a lifelong fight
- Support dries up: escaping family violence in Tasmania during COVID
- Why are Tasmanian women still being murdered by their partners?
- Mary Knowles feared for her life before fleeing to Tasmania
- Family violence laws must look beyond the bruises
For those who are in steady relationships and have reliable income and employment, that financial cost doesn't seem much - but we must check our privilege on this issue at the door.
Something that seems minor may be the trigger that stops a family violence order from being ordered, and the cycle of violence can continue.
While the state government says it's tough on crime, the opposition parties say they also are inundated with people seeking help.
Family violence is a complex issue - and one that needs a multi-faceted approach.
So, that's not to say the work the government is already doing is not working; we are sure that positive steps are taken. But there is more than one way to solve this issue - let's think outside the box.
That's why the Fighting Back campaign is urging the state government to rethink its stance on keeping the fee and abolish it for anyone seeking a family violence order.
It might seem a small thing, but from little things, big things grow, and it takes a small step towards the right thing to create meaningful change.
Let's abolish the fee - and give those who are fleeing from family violence a head start towards their new lives.