New anti-domestic violence minister Pru Goward highlights prevention

April 2, 2015

Original article published on Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April 2015 by Rachel Olding

Pru Goward Photo by Peter Stoop
Pru Goward Photo by Peter Stoop

The country’s first dedicated domestic violence minister has promised to radically shift the government’s focus to preventing violence rather than “picking up the broken pieces after a tragedy”.

Pru Goward was appointed Australia’s first Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on Wednesday, in addition to her roles as Minister for Women, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Medical Research and Assistant Minister for Health.

“Ever since Malcolm Fraser funded the first domestic violence shelters in the 1970s, the focus has been heavily on managing the effects of domestic violence,” Ms Goward told Fairfax Media in her first comments as the new minister.

“The Premier is right, we need to put so much more effort into prevention – to treat the causes, not just pick up the broken pieces after a tragedy.”

Ms Goward, who lost the portfolio of planning, already faces a tough battle to reverse the increasing toll of NSW women killed by their partners.

Her appointment came two days after Bexley mother-of-four Salwa Haydar, 45, was stabbed to death, allegedly at the hands of her husband, Haydar Haydar.

Of the seven domestic violence murders in NSW this year, five have been women allegedly killed by intimate partners, according to police data.

It equates to almost one a fortnight compared to just over one woman a month last year.

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