Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women Michaelia Cash and Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja today reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to ending violence against women and girls ahead of International Day of the Girl Child.

Speaking to a delegation led by Plan International, Minister Bishop announced Australia would provide an additional $12.4 million in support for women and their children subjected to violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, bringing the total contribution to more than $30 million since 2013.

The delegation of girls and young women from Australia and Pakistan are visiting the Federal Parliament to present their ideas and aspirations to the Australian Government.

Minister Bishop said violence against women and girls was a fundamental barrier to their rights, empowerment and economic participation. “It undermines a country’s social fabric and costs billions of dollars in health care and reduced economic productivity,” she said.

Minister Cash said Australia was working towards a vision that by 2022 Australian women and their children live free from violence in safe communities.

“The Government will spend more than $100 million over the next four years on initiatives supporting the reduction of violence against women and their children including the expansion of The Line social media campaign, which engages young people to discuss attitudes around violence to encourage behavioural change,” she said.

Ambassador Stott Despoja said she would travel to India for International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October.  “I will announce new funding for projects to improve girls’ access to education and to support women and children affected by trafficking,” she said.

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