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Domestic violence package a good first step but housing and legal service funding shortfalls remain

Media Release
Larissa Waters 24 Sep 2015

The Australian Greens welcome the Federal Government's announcement of funding for domestic violence training, services and prevention today, though long-term secure increased funding for services is still required.

"The announcement today is testament to the months and months of advocacy led by Rosie Batty that has put this national emergency firmly on the public agenda," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for women, said.

"It's important that where it's safe women have the option to stay at home, which the security programs announced today will support. However, for many women, staying at home is not safe, regardless of security measures.

"Domestic violence is the biggest cause of homelessness in Australia and to solve this we need more crisis accommodation and long-term affordable housing.

"Currently there is a bottleneck problem, where new arrivals at shelters have to be turned away because women staying at refuges have nowhere safe to move on to long-term.                                                                                                                

"We are still waiting for  the government reverse its funding cuts, including the $44 million cut from construction of new homelessness shelters and the $235 million cut from the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

"While the funding for duty lawyers in hospitals is welcome, the government has still not reversed its cut of $15 million cut from Legal Aid and community legal centres still face a $12 million funding drop in 2017-18.

"With increased reporting of domestic violence, front-line services have more and more women reaching out for help. For instance, the number of calls to DV Connect in Queensland doubled in just six days since the horrific deaths of two Gold Coast women this month.

"The solution is clear to those working on the frontline - federal, state and territory governments need to provide long-term secure funding for services, including crisis lines, shelters, legal centres and social support services.

"Governments also have a responsibility to work together on prevention and it's excellent that Respectful Relationships education will be included the national curriculum, as recommended by the Senate Inquiry into domestic violence," Senator Waters said.


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