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Domestic violence victims need bodyguards: Labor candidate

Labor Page candidate Janelle Saffin has proposed Federal funding for bodyguards to protect women fleeing violent relationships.
Labor Page candidate Janelle Saffin has proposed Federal funding for bodyguards to protect women fleeing violent relationships. Adam Hourigan

VICTIMS of domestic violence should be assigned professional bodyguards, paid for by the Federal Government, Labor Page candidate Janelle Saffin has said.

In the wake of her official campaign launch last weekend, Ms Saffin has quite literally called for more muscle in the war on domestic violence.

In an abstract accepted this month for a paper to be presented at the inaugural Stop Domestic Violence conference in December, Ms Saffin argued domestic violence was a "human security issue".

As such, she believes specific circumstances warrant government-funded physical protection.

"Yes, it's provocative idea. I'm talking bodyguards," she said.

The former East Timor foreign minister's advisor said: "In international affairs we talk about human security and we develop responses for human security.

"With domestic violence we don't use that language and we need to.

"I've even gone as far as to say when a woman is in certain situations she needs protection that goes beyond the phone.

"I understand about domestic violence both personally and professionally.

"You really need to feel safe.

"And particularly in situations when a woman is trying to leave, when the woman has (taken out) an order - that's when they are most unsafe."

Last week newly-appointed Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Women Michaelia Cash announced a $100 million women's safety package.

Unlike Saffin's bodyguard proposal, Ms Cash has earmarked $17 million to expand home security measures for women.

These measures range from installing CCTV cameras to changing locks to scanning homes for bugging devices.

Ms Saffin conceded that Mr Turnbull's swift action on our "national disgrace" was heartening. "Anything that deals with the problem is good," she said.

Ms Saffin, in her 20s, worked as the Lismore Women and Children's Refuge coordinator for five years. She will return to her roots to focus on the frontline service as part of her 2016 election campaign.

"The refuges need adequate funding and they need to be at the frontline of domestic violence response," she said. "There is no national program that puts them at the front and there needs to be."

Topics:  bodyguard, domestic violence, editors picks, politics, terrorathome



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