Details of a $30 million funding package for domestic violence services were revealed at the COAG National Summit on Reducing Violence against Women last week. Allocated specifically to family law courts and family relationship centres, the funding will be broken down by:
- $18.5m for integrated duty lawyer and social support services in family courts
- $6.2m to pilot enhanced models of family dispute resolution for vulnerable families
- $5m for an extra year of the legal assistance pilots under the Women’s Safety Package
- $300k for data analysis in the legal assistance sector
The funding is not new money, but part of a $100 million package originally announced soon after Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister.
The $30 million figure falls just short of the $35 million cut from community legal centres since 2013. The opposition highlighted that these services are due another funding cut of 30% from July next year, and that the Abbott-Turnbull governments have cut a combined $52 million from community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and legal aid services.
Rosie Batty has also questioned the funding, saying:
“I think that money and that funding will definitely be appreciated and be put to very valuable work, but we’re already talking of a really seriously underfunded service, seriously underfunded.”
She also criticised the failure to implement recommended Family Court reforms, particularly the law that allows perpetrators to cross-examine their victims.
“The cross examination issue is urgent and easily fixed. Women are being traumatised in the system right now and this is leading to adverse outcomes for children as well.”
Working with men
Speaking at the summit, Malcolm Turnbull said that domestic violence must be stamped out through wide cultural change. “Does this mean that all men are perpetrators? Of course not. But as men, we must stand as one against those who are.”
The National Working with Men to Tackle Family Violence conference takes place in Sydney next February. Men play a crucial role in ending family violence – most men are not violent and we need them to speak out and be positive role models. Men who are violent need to be able to engage with evidence-based interventions that will support change. This conference will bring together people from across the country who are working, or want to work, in this space. Book now to take advantage of Early Bird discounts.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, call the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line, 1800-RESPECT (1800 737 732). In an emergency, call 000.