The Senate Inquiry into domestic violence has heard evidence in Canberra today that the Abbott Government’s cuts will directly impact ACT victims of domestic violence.
“Support services for victims of domestic violence in the ACT are already struggling to keep up with tragically high demand,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for women, said.
“As refuges are sadly overrun and under-funded, many women are forced into homelessness, with domestic violence the biggest cause of homelessness for women.
“Despite the obvious need for housing support, the Abbott Government has abolished the National Rental Affordability Scheme and has put a one-year limit on funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.
“On top of this, the Abbott Government’s cuts to community legal centres will mean that the ACT Women’s Legal Centre will lose more than 3000 hours of paid and supervised pro-bono legal work over two years.
“Many women can’t afford legal advice or have their money controlled by abusive partners so without free legal assistance they may not get the advice they need for their own safety and the safety of their children.
“The ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council also expresses concern about the GP co-payment, which would make it harder for victims to see a doctor, despite the mental and physical harm they need treated.
“I sincerely hope that the Coalition Senators on the committee will take note of the evidence at the hearing and relay this back to their Cabinet.
“The Greens will block as much of the Abbott Government’s cruel budget measures as we can.
“But with such strong evidence before the committee for the domestic violence inquiry, I hope that the government will think again about even putting measures like the GP co-payment to the Senate.
“With only one woman in Tony Abbott’s Cabinet, it’s hardly surprising that the federal budget is completely insensitive to the needs of women, particularly victims of domestic violence,” Senator Waters said.