Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston today announced Catherine Fitzpatrick will be Australia’s first National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner.
“I congratulate Ms Fitzpatrick on her appointment following a career dedicated to addressing gender based violence and specifically her work addressing financial abuse and supporting women to become financially independent,” Minister Ruston said.
“Ms Fitzpatrick has 30 years’ experience across private, public and not-for-profit sectors, including as the Director of Customer Vulnerability and Financial Resilience at Westpac and Chair of the National Women’s Safety Alliance Policy and Advocacy Advisory Committee.
“While at Commonwealth Bank she identified and led the banking industry’s response to abuse in payment descriptions, an issue which many other banks have since sought to address.
“Ms Fitzpatrick is also a member of the National Plan Advisory Group and NSW Attorney-General’s Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Corporate Leadership Group.
“Her work throughout the 18 month consultation process for the next National Plan has been invaluable. Ms Fitzpatrick’s appointment to this important role includes monitoring and evaluation to support the National Plan delivering real and tangible actions that will help end violence against women and children.”
The Morrison Government has committed $22.4 million over five years to establish the National DFSV Commission as recommended by the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence.
“By establishing the Commission the Morrison Government is supporting cooperation, accountability, transparency and evidence-based action as we work towards a future free from gender-based violence in Australia,” Minister Ruston said.
“Through Ms Fitzpatrick’s leadership, the Commission will oversee the implementation of the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children and support the Government in providing policy leadership, developing and fostering relationships across the sector and ensuring greater cooperation between the Commonwealth, states and territories in delivering the targets and objectives of the next National Plan.
“I have no doubt that Ms Fitzpatrick’s broad experience will further elevate the national conversation on gendered violence and the role we all play in ending violence.”
Ms Catherine Fitzpatrick said she was delighted to establish the Commission to help end gendered violence.
“This is an opportunity to galvanise the efforts of government, community and business – because we all have a role to play,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
“My first priority will be to listen to victim-survivors, because we owe it to them and every other person whose life has been affected.”
Ms Fitzpatrick’s appointment will commence from 1 July 2022 for five years.
The National DFSV Commission has been established as an Executive Agency under the Public Service Act 1999, and its functions are detailed in the Executive Order for the Commission that can be found at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2022G00246.
The appointment follows the Government’s historic $2.5 billion commitment to women’s safety across the first five years of the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children.
Original post: https://ministers.dss.gov.au/media-releases/8146
Associate Professor Magdalena Simonis AM is the President of the AFMW (2020-) and former President of VMWS (2013 & 2017-2020). She is a full time clinician who also holds positions on several not for profit organisations, driven by her passion for bridging gaps across the health sector. She is a leading women’s health expert, keynote speaker, climate change and gender equity advocate and government advisor.
Magdalena was awarded a lifetime membership of the RACGP for her contributions which include past chair of Women in General Practice, longstanding contribution to the RACGP Expert Committee Quality Care, the RACGP eHealth Expert Committee. She is regularly invited to comment on primary care research though mainstream and medical media and contributes articles on various health issues through newsGP and other publications.
Magdalena has represented the RACGP at senate enquiries and has worked on several National Health Framework reviews. She is author of the RACGP Guide on Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery and co-reviewer of the RACGP Red Book Women’s Health Chapter, and reviewer of the RACGP White book
Both an RACGP examiner and University examiner, she undertakes general practice research and is a GP Educator with the Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence, which develops education tools to assist the primary care sector identify, respond to and manage family violence . Roles outside of RACGP include the Strategy and Policy Committee for Breast Cancer Network Australia, Board Director of the Melbourne University Teaching Health Clinics and the elected GP representative to the AMA Federal Council. In 2022. she was award the AMA (Vic) Patrick Pritzwald-Steggman Award 2022, which celebrates a doctor who has made an exceptional contribution to the wellbeing of their colleagues and the community and was listed as Women’s Agenda 2022 finalist for Emerging Leader in Health.
Magdalena has presented at the United Nations as part of the Australian Assembly and was appointed the Australian representative to the World Health Organisation, World Assembly on COVID 19, by the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) in 2021. In 2023, A/Professor Simonis was included on the King’s COVID-19 Champion’s list and was also awarded a Member (AM) in the General Division for significant service to medicine through a range of roles and to women’s health.