SENATOR CLAIRE MOORE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CARERS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
INTERIM REPORT SHOWS GOVERNMENT MUST RESTORE SUPPORT SERVICES FOR WOMEN EXPERIENCING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The Abbott Government's cuts to essential support services that support women experiencing domestic violence have been highlighted in a report tabled today by the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee.
The Committee released the Interim Report ahead of the 2015 Federal Budget in an urgent effort to restore funding cuts to critical services.
Liberal Government funding cuts to legal services, as well as uncertainty around housing and homeless services were raised consistently by those contributing to the Inquiry as key factors in making it more difficult for women to obtain the support they needed to escape domestic violence.
Labor has called on the Prime Minister to hold a National Crisis Summit on Family Violence and announced a $70 million interim package of measures to make sure women get the legal support they need and have somewhere safe to go -
- Almost $50 million to legal services, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services to ensure women suffering from family violence have appropriate legal support;
- Initial investment of $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home; and
- Labor will invest $8 million in perpetrator interaction mapping.
Labor urges the Prime Minister to work with Labor on the most important issue of violence against women as a matter of urgency.
Today's Interim Report highlights key issues from the many submissions and evidence from the public hearings, with nine recommendations for action.
The interim report's first recommendation states:
1.70 The committee recommends the Commonwealth Government restore funding cuts from legal services, housing and homelessness services and the Department of Social Services grants program, and guarantee funding under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness for at least four years.
With twenty five per cent of people seeking homelessness services' being women and children fleeing domestic and family violence, it is crucial the Abbott Government takes note of this report.
This Liberal government has not given Community Legal Centres or Family Violence Prevention Legal Services any funding certainty beyond June.
This lack of support comes on top of the $15 million cut to Legal Aid in the budget and a $43 million cut to Community Legal Centres in MYEFO.
The Abbott Government must consider the impact of cuts to key programs that support women affected by family violence including $240 million cut to community services including Family Relationships services, Emergency Relief funding, Financial Counselling services and homelessness advocacy services, accompanied by a shambolic grants process leaving hundreds of services with an uncertain future.
Labor is committed to considering a range of policy approaches to prevent family violence and recognise the need for national leadership. It is why we established the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children 2010-2022 to bring together all governments in a long term strategy for this cause. We welcome ongoing government support for this Plan and genuine cross party engagement.
The Committee has extended the timeframe for the enquiry as a result of the real interest across the community and the need to hear the experiences and suggestions from women, organisations and governments and the final report is now due in June 2015.
The interim report is available from the committee website: Interim Report - Domestic violence in Australia.
FRIDAY, 20 MARCH 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: MEREDITH HORNE 0408 599 800