Australian prime minister describes domestic violence as a ‘national crisis’

CANBERRA, Australia — Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday described domestic violence as a “national crisis” after thousands rallied around the country against violence toward women.

Thousands protested in cities around Australia on Sunday to draw attention to the deaths of 27 women so far this year allegedly caused by acts of gender-based violence in a population of 27 million.

Albanese said Monday that the rallies were a call to action for all levels of the Australian government to do more to prevent gender-based violence.

“Quite clearly, we need to do more. It’s not enough to just have empathy,” Albanese told Nine Network television. 

“The fact that … a woman dies every four days on average at the hand of a partner is just a national crisis,” he added.

There were 17 rallies held across Australia over the weekend, with an estimated 15,000 people demonstrating in the city of Melbourne.

Albanese said he would host a meeting with Australian state and territory leaders on Wednesday to discuss a coordinated response.

Albanese, his Women’s Minister Katy Gallagher, and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth received a hostile response when they attended a rally on Sunday in the capital, Canberra.

Protesters yelled at the government leaders, “we want action” and “do your job.”

Albanese said there needed to be more focus on perpetrators and prevention of violence. “We need to change the culture, we need to change attitudes — we need to change the legal system,” he told the rally.