Linda-Ann Northey ~ Former EVAWQ President 


EVAWQ peak body is the only peak in Australia that provides a united and representative statewide voice across all four areas of sexual violence, women’s health, women's refuges and domestic & family violence services.

Women’s sector work is naturally collaborative and a state-wide partnership of services in sexual violence, women’s health, women's refuges and domestic & family violence positively complements specialist work and the sharing of specialist knowledge.


Sexual violence is a crime which involves any unwanted sexual behaviour or act. Sexual violence is primarily perpetrated by men towards women and children; and is usually committed by someone known to the victim / survivor, such as a family member, intimate partner, friend, colleague, neighbour, or acquaintance.


It is widely acknowledged that there are significant barriers for victim / survivors in disclosing and reporting experiences of sexual violence and in seeking support in relation to these experiences. Sexual violence continues to be significantly underreported as a crime in Australia however we know that sexual violence is endemic with one in three young women experiencing some form of sexual violence before the age of 18 years. It is also estimated that one in three women worldwide will experience rape during their lifetime. Sexual violence is a profound abuse of human rights that causes serious, long-term effects for individuals, families and communities.

It is of significant concern to EVAWQ that many reported crimes of sexual violence are not advancing through the criminal justice system and the attrition rate in Queensland remains high for these types of offences. EVAWQ remain concerned that Queensland has not yet developed statewide policy to respond and reduce the incidence of sexual violence against women and children in Queensland.


Women’s health encompasses physical, mental, emotional, cultural and spiritual wellbeing.


In their 2014 paper, ‘Health and the Primary Prevention of Violence against Women’, the Australian Women’s Health Network states that “[t]he direct health consequences of gender based violence to women include depression, anxiety and phobias, suicidal behaviours, physical injury, a range of somatic disorders and a variety of reproductive health problems ... Women who have been exposed to violence report poorer overall physical health than those who have not ...”

(p. 13, awhn.org.au)


Domestic and family violence is the leading cause of trauma, child protection needs, and homelessness for women and their children in Queensland. It involves an exploitation of power imbalances where one person uses a pattern of abusive and/or coercive behaviour and/or pursuit in order to control and dominate the other both in a relationship and after separation. This behaviour often repeats, may escalate and can result in death. DFV creates fear for personal safety and wellbeing, as well as immediate, long-term and generational harm.


The collective complexity and impacts of gender-based violence leads to many other challenges experienced in families including relationship breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, long-term health and wellbeing concerns, poor education, long-term unemployment and subsequent poverty.