The government’s $925 million plan to curb male violence against women might ‘look good to voters’ but doesn’t go far enough to address the underlying causes, a domestic violence advocate has said.

Sue McLeod from Destroy the Joint, one of Australia’s largest feminist groups and the organisation behind the Counting Dead Women project, also said the cost of living crisis was likely driving up assault rates and contributing to the increase in murders of women.

Murders of women by men have happened every four days this year, compared to an average of one a week in previous years.

“My fellow researchers and I get very apprehensive when we have had no deaths for a week or two… it always means that there is about to be a flurry,” she told Central News.

“It is entirely possible that current financial pressures may be inducing an increase in family and societal tensions and a resultant increase in violence against women.”

Earlier today Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced a raft of proposals to address a “domestic violence national emergency”, including $5,000 payments to women fleeing domestic violence situations.

The $925 million plan formulated at a snap National Cabinet meeting held this morning came in the wake of increased violence against women which has sparked national calls for action.

“Those eligible will be able to access up to $5,000 in financial support along with referral services, risk assessments, and safety planning,” Albanese said today.

The announcement came three days after a disastrous tone-deaf intervention by the prime minister at a rally in Canberra protesting male violence on women, in which he upset organiser Sarah Williams, and was accused of grandstanding.

McLeod, who along with other volunteers keeps a tally of murders of women in Australia by men, said previous governments had a history of failure when it came to addressing the issue.

“The only effective assistance for women and their children involved in domestic and family violence has been initiated and continued by women for other women at the grass roots,” she said.

“We have had good starts and grand intentions from governments, state and federal, over many years which have almost all turned out to be false starts and/or petered out when the next shiny thing appears.

“Politicians on the whole are doing what they do, making statements and promising actions that they think will resonate positively with the voters – some of them may even be sincere.”

Data from Destroy the Joint shows that as of April 29, there have been 28 women killed in Australia this year. This is equivalent to approximately one every four days dying violently. This figure includes the five women murdered in the Bondi Junction stabbing attack two weeks ago, in which women were the “obvious” target according to NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb.

Independent Senator David Pocock said despite the last budget allocating over $2 billion nationally to women’s support and domestic violence intervention, the issue lies within societal attitudes.

“This is framed as a women’s issue but clearly, this is first and foremost a men’s issue,” Senator Pocock said.

“This is the way that boys, young men are thinking about women and we have a huge cultural issue here that we need to tackle. This is going to take far more than some extra funding.”

Campaigners say hateful views of women, particularly online, are contributing to the problem.

Meghan*, a 19-year-old university student from Sydney, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was often confronted with hateful content against women online.

“Mockery of women shared online by influential people, such as the hosts of the ‘Whatever’ podcast – where blatant misogyny is seen as acceptable – sets the norm that women are constantly ‘less than’,” she said.

“There’s a fear of addressing this, as digital platforms will remain [active] on the grounds of debate and opinion… which can be powerful [and] dangerous.

“There’ll always be a space for hate and mockery online.”

Misogynistic and anti-woman content online has been in the spotlight in recent years, with influencers like Andrew Tate pushing content targeted towards young men that displays sentiments of hate and disregard for women, an issue that the government has vowed to take action against.

In today’s national cabinet meeting, the PM announced the government would enact measures that limit and penalise toxic online content against women, including banning deep fake pornography, and limiting children’s exposure to extremist male views against women.

“This new phase will include counter influencing campaigns in online spaces where violent and misogynistic content thrives to directly challenge the material in the spaces that it’s being viewed,” he said.

We must all hope that something useful emerges from this and leads to actual assistance for women.

However, McLeod said the best way to see change is through working with those who have been involved in successful domestic and international programs tackling the issue.

“[We need] more practical action guided by the experience of practitioners who are actually already at work in viable programs,” she added.

“This is especially essential in dealing with victims/survivors who are disabled, from varied social and cultural/ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

“We must hope that we can end it . There has been progress – two steps forward one step back – over the last 50 years … the alternative is unthinkable.

“We must all hope that something useful emerges from this and leads to actual assistance for women.”

* Not her real name

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

Main image Giacomo Ferroni/Flickr.