More than 30 Baptist leaders from around Australia met in Canberra last week calling for action to stem the rising tide of violence against women.
“We’re meeting with federal parliamentarians to let them know that Baptist churches and other agencies want to see a safer and more inclusive world for women, ” said Keith Jobberns, National Ministries Director of Australian Baptist Ministries.
“There’s a huge amount of work being done around domestic and family violence in Australia. This is great and necessary, but our workers on the frontline are saying that all this effort still isn’t keeping women safe. All of the awareness raising of recent years has increased demand on services as more women seek to escape from violent and abusive relationships. This was expected, but unfortunately resources haven’t been able to keep up with demand. We are seeing an urgent need for housing and employment services for women and children leaving violent situations. We need action now from all governments to take responsibility for protecting the lives of these women and children. Without a safe place to live some have little choice but to return to unsafe situations. Equally important, most women leave with nothing, and they need support to find flexible employment opportunities so they can rebuild their lives,” Mr. Jobberns said.
“Baptist community agencies and local churches are playing their part, and we are in Canberra to ask the federal government to help meet this growing need,” Mr. Jobberns said.
Baptist leaders also raised issues of violence against refugee women, and violence against overseas female workers producing consumer goods for the Australian market.
Delegations attending meetings included local Baptist pastors, state and national leaders of the Baptist denomination, and representatives of BaptistCare agencies and Baptist World Aid Australia.