The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 (the National Plan) was developed in partnership with all states and territories and endorsed and released by COAG in February 2011. The National Plan is the Australian Government’s framework to address two types of violence where women are more likely to be victims: domestic and family violence; and sexual assault.
The National Plan sets out six National Outcomes for all governments to deliver during the 12 years from 2010–2022. These National Outcomes are:
- Communities are safe and free from violence.
- Relationships are respectful.
- Indigenous communities are strengthened.
- Services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence.
- Justice responses are effective.
- Perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account.
The National Plan identifies that outcomes will be delivered through four three-yearly action plans. Governments agreed that each action plan would identify priority areas for all governments to focus on over the three-year period and practical actions designed to drive national improvements. The Third Action Plan 2016–2019, was launched in October 2016. The Fourth Action Plan is due to be launched in July 2019.
Domestic violence causes long-term impacts to individuals and families as well as significant costs to the economy. Reducing these impacts involves changing individual behaviour and delivering integrated services across organisational boundaries and at all levels of government. In 2011, all Australian Governments agreed to a long-term plan to reduce violence, with the Commonwealth Government taking a leadership role. As this National Plan is in its ninth year, it is timely to assess whether the Department of Social Services has been effective in administering its responsibilities under the National Plan, including monitoring the plan’s achievements and progress.
To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high-level audit criteria:
- effective governance arrangements are in place.
- Targeting of funding and actions is aligned to the outcomes of the National Plan.
- Monitoring and reporting of performance for key Department of Social Services’ initiatives and the National Plan is effective.