Melbourne rally protesting violence against women underway in CBD

A rally against domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, murder and women being accused of 'cop shopping' is underway in Melbourne.

A protestor holds a sign calling for mandatory sentencing for "AVO breaches". PHOTO: Getrude Pogorevc/ VicNews.

A rally against domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, murder and women being accused of ‘cop shopping’ is underway in Melbourne.

The large protest rally has heard calls for prosecution for any breach of Family Safety Intervention Orders (FVIO), deep cultural change and the role technology – such as X (formerly Twitter) – is playing in facilitating abuse.

The federal attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, and Victorian premier, Jacinta Allan, have joined thousands in Melbourne to rally against gender-based violence.

Thousands of Victorians gathered outside the Melbourne State Library before marching to Federation Square.

“What we are seeing now is technology is not creating the problem. It’s basically being a tool for what the what we know is occurring. So we are seeing sextortion, coercion. Some of our clients are talking. About how their images of being sexually assaulted are being shared online. It’s illegal. We’re seeing children.”

The rally heard that innovative approaches to regulating pornography should be considered such as age-requirements to access it.

There was also criticism of the Victorian state government for failing to roll out a state-wide sexual assault strategy which was first recommended in 2021.

“We need to help people who think what happened to them is their fault. Make sense that it’s because of our community and our structures that. What they experienced happened to them. So we want the strategy we want better funding to our service system so we don’t have waitlists so we can be innovative, creative and responsive in how. We respond to people who contact our service, not just 9 to 5. And not telling people will get to you in six months.”

Following the rally, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allen held a press conference, telling reporters:

“Women deserve the right to be safe in every space and we are seeing, continuously, too many women are losing their lives.

“There were women at the march today, like me, we’ve been marching on this issue for decades and decades and decades. We’ve had enough … we’ve had enough of being angry and outraged and sad and grieving for women who’ve lost their lives, for women who have been seriously injured, for women who are too traumatised to participate in the workplace, to participate as members of our community.”

Nation-wide protest rallies organised by the non-profit group ‘What Were You Wearing’, have called for boosted funding for family and sexual violence services and for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to declare the violence a national emergency.

This year, 26 Australian women have been killed, at a rate of one death every four days, according to data compiled by advocacy group Destroy the Joint’s project Counting Dead Women.

In the latest incident on Tuesday, the body of Emma Bates, 49, was discovered in Cobram, in northern Victoria.

More to come

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