Women Fleeing Violence Cannot Afford To Be Ignored This BudgetMedia Releases
At a time when family violence is on the rise, we need the Morrison Government to extend funding for local services to help women and children fleeing violent situations.
It’s anticipated more than $200 million will be cut from the Budget in family violence support.
This will mean a cut to local services including the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre and Bethany and could result in the organisations being forced to lay off staff.
Instead, Morrison Government must take immediate steps to vulnerable women and children. These include:
1. Stop cuts to services providing crisis accommodation for women and children fleeing violence.
2. Properly fund frontline family and domestic violence services
3. Passing Labor's Private Senators Bill to legislate for Paid Domestic Violence Leave.
Last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the $150 million in funding for the COVID National Partnership provided to the states to assist with family violence responses during the pandemic would be an “initial response”.
When Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers the Budget on 11 May, he must ensure it includes an increase of funding to domestic violence services.
Additionally, he must end the uncertainty and commit the Commonwealth to continuing to pay its fair share of wages for specialist homelessness services across the country. Without it, services like women’s shelters, will have $56.7 million less in funding.
Whether it be safety and violence prevention services, housing and homelessness services, or legal services, the Morrison Government has failed to deliver the support that is required to keep women and their children safe.
The demand for services at the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre has exceeded 2019 levels. Beyond demand, the complexity of the casework has also added to the strain on services. Without a continued commitment to the sector, it will not be able to keep up with level of demand.
The Barwon Community Legal Service has said the number of clients who have experienced family violence has risen enormously, with approximately 63% of their clients now reporting family violence. In the past months, the number of people who have court actions relating to Family Violence Intervention Orders has almost doubled 2020 levels. It means that not everyone that requests court duty lawyer representation can receive it.
The funding cuts, through the Commonwealth’s refusal to continue to contribute federal funding to the Equal Renumeration Order (ERO), will have a major impact on services.