Petrusma’s key stand

Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - EMILY BAKER RE­PORTS,

HODG­MAN Gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Jac­quie Petrusma has re­vealed her de­ter­mi­na­tion to erad­i­cate fam­ily vi­o­lence is driven by her past per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence as a vic­tim.

“If we’re truly go­ing to have Tas­ma­nia the best state in which to live, work and raise a fam­ily, we have to truly tackle fam­ily vi­o­lence, which af­fects women and men, boys and girls,” Mrs Petrusma said of her deeply per­sonal mis­sion.

MIN­IS­TER for Women Jac­quie Petrusma has bravely re­vealed what has driven her years-long fo­cus on eradicating fam­ily vi­o­lence — her per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence as a vic­tim.

The Franklin Lib­eral MHA told the Sun­day Tasma

nian she suf­fered abuse in a re­la­tion­ship prior to be­ing elected to par­lia­ment in 2010 — a ca­reer change in­spired by her ex­pe­ri­ences.

Mrs Petrusma, who worked as a reg­is­tered nurse and in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try be­fore be­com­ing a politi­cian, made it her mis­sion upon be­ing elected to Gov­ern­ment in 2014 to drive cul­tural change so her chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and all fam­i­lies could live in a bet­ter Tas­ma­nia.

“If we’re truly go­ing to have Tas­ma­nia the best state in which to live, work and raise a fam­ily, we have to truly tackle fam­ily vi­o­lence, which af­fects women and men, boys and girls,” Mrs Petrusma said.

Mrs Petrusma was handed the hu­man ser­vices and women’s is­sues port­fo­lios when the Lib­er­als were first elected to gov­ern­ment and said she knew she had to make fam­ily vi­o­lence a tri­par­ti­san is­sue to ef­fect real change. She met with now Greens leader Cassy O’Con­nor and for­mer La­bor premier Lara Gid­dings to plan how to best tackle fam­ily vi­o­lence.

The trio worked closely on the is­sue, bring­ing their par­ties’ male lead­ers on board, pen­ning opin­ion pieces for lo­cal news­pa­pers and even star­ring in a lo­cal ver­sion of in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned play The Vagina Mono­logues.

Ms Gid­dings, who has since re­tired from pol­i­tics, com­mended Ms Petrusma on en­sur­ing on­go­ing ac­tion to end fam­ily vi­o­lence in Tas­ma­nia.

“It cer­tainly was re­fresh­ing to have a min­is­ter who dis­played a will to work with other par­ties on such a se­ri­ous is­sue,” Ms Gid­dings said.

“I think the fact she was a sur­vivor meant she saw the big­ger pic­ture.”

The Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment re­leased a fam­ily vi­o­lence ac­tion plan in 2015 that was de­scribed at the time as na­tion­lead­ing. Safe Homes, Safe Fam­i­lies saw Tas­ma­nia take a whole-of-gov­ern­ment ap­proach to pre­vent­ing and re­spond­ing to fam­ily vi­o­lence with the plan led by Premier Will Hodg­man’s of­fice.

Mr Hodg­man has spo­ken of his pas­sion for eradicating fam­ily vi­o­lence with his Gov­ern­ment pour­ing mil­lions of dol­lars into ad­dress­ing the is­sue. The Gov­ern­ment is re­view­ing the plan a year ear­lier than sched­uled and al­ready has an­nounced it will next year evolve to in­clude a fo­cus on sex­ual vi­o­lence.

For­mer Women’s Le­gal Ser­vice chief ex­ec­u­tive Su­san Fa­hey said the state’s fam­ily vi­o­lence ac­tion plan was broadly sup­ported among the com­mu­nity sec­tor but re­quired ad­di­tional, se­cure and tar­geted fund­ing.

She praised Mrs Petrusma for shar­ing her story.

“It takes a re­ally high level of courage and per­sonal con­vic­tion to do that be­cause there are peo­ple in the com­mu­nity who would de­ride her for it — and wrongly so — but it shows her com­mit­ment,” Ms Fa­hey said.

Tas­ma­nia Po­lice data shows re­ported in­ci­dents of fam­ily vi­o­lence have in­creased since 2013-14, from 2414 re­ports in that year to 3385 in 2017-18. “An in­crease in in­ci­dents does not nec­es­sar­ily mean that fam­ily vi­o­lence is in­creas­ing; it could also sug­gest an in­crease in re­port­ing to po­lice, which would be pos­i­tive,” the force’s an­nual re­port said.

Ms Gid­dings yes­ter­day said she was wor­ried mo­men­tum was stalling on Tas­ma­nia’s re­sponse to fam­ily vi­o­lence and urged the Gov­ern­ment — and the com­mu­nity — to keep their eye on the ball.

Mrs Petrusma said she main­tained her pas­sion for build­ing a bet­ter Tas­ma­nia and ex­pressed her strong grat­i­tude for the ac­tion taken on fam­ily vi­o­lence so far, par­tic­u­larly thank­ing Mr Hodg­man, Ms O’Con­nor and Ms Gid­dings.

The day in Novem­ber, 2015, that Tas­ma­nian Par­lia­ment stood to­gether against fam­ily vi­o­lence was the best day of her life, she said.

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