FIONA Richardson’s family issued a statement following her death last week, which talked about her contribution to public life.
Fiona was the nation’s first minister for the prevention of family violence, and our state’s minister for women.
She was responsible for overseeing the Royal Commission into Family Violence, having Respectful Relationships added to the state curriculum, funding Victoria against Violence and developing the state’s first gender equality strategy.
As her family noted, “Fiona had unfinished business’. She wanted violence in the home to stop and she knew for that to happen it would take dedication and leadership over the course of a generation.’’
Fiona told the state parliament just weeks before the Royal Commission into Family Violence delivered its report, complete with more than 200 recommendations, to the state government – “we will put victims at the centre of our response, something that has never happened before’’.
Her plan wasn’t short term. Fiona wanted an ongoing commitment from the state of Victoria to fund services to achieve long term change.
Premier Daniel Andrews has been quoted as saying he thought there were many who were quick to blame magistrates or the legal system for failures to protect women and children, “but the real failure is on the part of government, we’ve not joined up those services, we’ve not properly supported them to do better’’.
We hope the premier hears the calls for Fiona’s Law, which would ensure dedicated and long term funding for prevention work, protected by legislation.
Fiona’s Law would not only ensure Fiona’s important work is continued, but importantly would save lives.
Vale Fiona Richardson.
Nicole Ferrie, editor