CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to gendered and domestic violence.

The government has now officially released their draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women, which aims to address and ultimately end gendered violence. However, it’s copping flack from advocates and experts for only giving the public two weeks to give their feedback.

Yep, the length of a school holiday to try and help solve one of the most pressing issues that affects our country. Sounds about right!

The decision has drawn ire from a group of prominent Australian women, including Brittany Higgins, who took to Twitter to critique the government’s decision which she described as “breathtakingly disrespectful”.

“The Govt have given community organisations and experts just TWO weeks to contribute to the upcoming 10-year Violence Against Women National Plan,” she said.

“Two weeks to map out the next 10 years of the fight against gendered violence in Australia.”

Australian of the Year 2021 Grace Tame also weighed in on the decision, adding to Higgins’ tweet.

“A perfect example of the Govt’s consistent approach to dire issues. I’m tired of being told we shouldn’t complain because “at least they’re making a plan”. Rubbish,” she said.

“Dig deeper and there’s nothing there. No genuine commitment, no legitimate action, just hollow words.”

Higgins also tweeted an official petition calling for the feedback timeframe to be extended, which has been co-signed by a number of prominent Australian women.

That includes former Mayor of Sydney Lucy Turnbull, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Michele O’Neil, author Jane Caro and author-slash-surgeon Dr Neela Janakiramanan, to name literally just a handful.

In a media statement released by the group, they were heavily critical of how little time the country has been given to respond to the 10 year plan.

The government took nine months to draft it: why is the consultation period only two weeks, particularly when we’re literally in a pandemic?

“[It] speaks volumes about the seriousness with which the government is taking this issue,” said the statement.

“By comparison, a home reno regularly takes four weeks consultation.

“The tiny window of consultation diminishes this issue to our society and is shallow and disrespectful to our country. We need this plan to succeed.”

The group is now calling for the consultation period to be extended until at least February 28th, which would give six weeks for feedback.

For some context: the draft plan is 75 (!!!) pages long and currently sets up a couple of different ideas, including four “national pillars” for ending violence: prevention, early intervention, response and recovery.

It also sets up two five year Action Plans and two five year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plans. Working in these five year timeframes, the state, territory and federal governments will — in theory — then take actions relating to each of the national pillars.

In essence, there’s a ton off stuff to unpack and two weeks is not a very long time to do it, never mind that many people are now back at work full time after the holiday season.

The action group are also asking the government to release its Consultation Reports, where 500 people — including 80 victim-survivor advocates — shared their expertise and expectations of the 10 year plan.

A pretty key bit of information for the people to review you’d think, but the government haven’t yet made those reports available.

“We request the Consultation Reports and the key findings contained to be released immediately to publicly inform this process,” the group’s statement said.

The government once again disappointing us when it comes to action on gendered violence? I’m shocked.

If you want to have your say on the plan to end violence against women, you can here: but at the moment, you only have until January 31st to do it.

Help is available.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.

Image: Getty Images / Bloomberg