Legislation to help protect children from on-line predators has passed through Federal Parliament on Thursday. The Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors) Bill, known as “Carly’s Law”, was introduced by Senators Skye Kakoschke-Moore and Nick Xenophon.
The legislation imposes a penalty of 10 years imprisonment for individuals who use the internet to prepare or plan to cause harm, procure or engage in sexual activity with a child and is intended to make it easier for police to prosecute on-line predators. The Bill was first introduced by Xenophon in 2013 but there has been a lengthy process of negotiations to have it passed by both houses.
To date, nearly 60 women have accused the former television star of sexual assault. Imagine what 60 women gathered in a room look like. That’s dozens of women, enough to fill several classrooms or form a few sports teams. But it seems there is no number of women telling their stories – not one, not 10, not dozens – that will convince Americans that rape and assault happen with impunity in this country.
Disagreeing with Gonski, Carol Schwartz stated that quotas are the “perfect” solution to this underrepresentation. In order to tackle the underlying belief systems and unconscious bias that keep women from leadership roles, Schwartz says there needs to be a “paradigm shift which will actually move the dial.” For that, “the only answer is quotas,” she says.
Schwartz says quotas need not aim for exact gender parity every time, “that is way too rigid,” she says. Instead, she proposes a “quota for men of 40 per cent, a quota for women of 40 per cent, and 20 per cent floating.”
In 2015, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon introduced a bill so that this 40/40/20 formula would become mandatory for all Australian government appointments, but it was rejected.
Professor Cordelia Fine of the University of Melbourne, put forward a social justice argument in favour of quotas. She said that based on U.S. data, women and minorities are more compassionate, other-minded and egalitarian, and also tend to take greater account of the welfare of employees, communities and the environment.
Imagine that you are a university student who has experienced sexual assault; now imagine being told that you’ll have to wait weeks to talk to a counsellor. This week, End Rape on Campus Australia was contacted by a young woman from UNSW, who was sexually assaulted by a fellow student around a month ago – she has still not been able to receive trauma counselling.
Long wait times for counselling are typical at universities around Australia. Counselling services are stretched so thin that there are simply not enough sessions to go around. Almost uniformly around the country, they are understaffed, underfunded, and not adequately promoted to students. And while the International Association of Counselling Services recommends one counsellor for every 1,000-1,500 students, Australian universities have, on average, only one counsellor to every 4,340 students.
Senior judges are taking steps to end the presumption that a father must have contact with a child where there is evidence of domestic abuse that would put the child or mother at risk.
The reforms are to be introduced in the family courts after campaigning by the charity Women’s Aid, which identified that 19 children have been killed in the last 10 years by their violent fathers after being given contact with them by judges.
The changes include a demand from one of the most senior family court judges for all the judiciary to have further training on domestic violence and to act to ensure women and children are protected.
He also said judges needed to be more alert to perpetrators of domestic violence using the courts as a way to continue their abuse. “Family court judges should be sure that they understand the new offence of coercion [controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship],” he said.
HESTA, along with others in the community sector, is urging the federal government to change superannuation rules, proposing that victims and survivors of family violence be able to access up to $10,000 of their super under compassionate grounds.
“Finances are too often a barrier for women trying to leave a violent relationship and, unfortunately, financial support for survivors of family violence is grossly inadequate,” Blakey said.
“While early access to super is currently possible to stop the bank selling your home, pay for a dependant’s funeral or get medical treatment under compassionate grounds, this is denied in instances of family violence.
“We think it’s entirely appropriate that super regulations extend compassion to victims and survivors of family violence to empower women with the financial means to escape abusive relationships.”
(ed: But shouldn’t it be his super that is depleted in these circumstances?)
The NSW government’s review of scripture in public schools deleted a section of a 2015 draft report showing children were exposed to lessons on the conservative Christian concept of “headship” – where women “submit” to their husbands – and negative messages on homosexuality.
The draft ARTD Consultants report found an unidentified major Christian publisher’s lesson material taught “the concept of ‘headship’ and that women should submit to their husbands, abstinence only sex education, negative LGBTI messages and that sexual intimacy is only acceptable to God between a married man and woman”.
The concept of “headship” is most strongly supported in the Sydney Anglican Diocese where women cannot be priests, but it divides even Christian groups. Some delegates walked out of a recent evangelical women’s conference in Sydney after a speaker suggested women should submit to men at home, in church and in the workplace where they should consider themselves “helpers” of male colleagues.