THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
SENATOR CLAIRE MOORE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CARERS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
FAMILY VIOLENCE SUPPORT SERVICES NEED FUNDING RESTORED
Labor welcomes the report launched today by the Hon. Fiona Richardson, Victorian Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence into the legal challenges surrounding economic abuse Restoring Financial Safety: Legal Responses to Economic Abuse by Good Shepherd and Wyndham Legal Service.
The report aims to improve understanding of the financial issues faced by women in situations of family violence and propose policy, regulatory and practice solutions.
Senator Moore said the report highlights how economic abuse is a form of domestic violence.
"Domestic violence continues to challenge all Governments in how to best provide services to support victims and the report today goes a long way to bring greater understanding into the complexities of the problem.
"Unfortunately as a result of the bungled grants process through Department of Social Services, which included funding cuts of more than $270 million, critical domestic violence support services which provided financial counselling services have been cut." Senator Moore said.
Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said that the report was a step in the right direction, but that the legal assistance sector is still in crisis as a consequence of the brutal cuts imposed by the Abbott Government, only some of which have recently been reversed, and because of the ongoing uncertainty caused by the federal Government's chaotic approach to funding legal assistance services.
"This report shows just how necessary community legal centres are to Australians in need, including victims of domestic violence.
"The uncertainty caused by the Abbott Government's shambolic approach to legal assistance funding has forced some centres to close and highly skilled staff to quit to find employment with greater job security. This report shows how essential it is that Governments properly fund financial and legal assistance services for women leaving abusive relationships," Mr Dreyfus said.
The Abbott Government must consider the impact of cuts to all of the 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 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 can access critical services.
- 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
- An investment of $8 million to improve perpetrator accountability, tracking and diversion strategies to prevent violence.
Labor will continue to fight the Abbott Government's attacks on funding for the support services for family violence.
MONDAY, 27 APRIL 2015
MEDIA CONTACTS: PHILLIP CLARKE (DREYFUS) 0498 490 466
MEREDITH HORNE (MOORE) 0408 599 800