The Federal Senate Inquiry into domestic violence, established by the Greens, is hearing from NSW groups in a public hearing in Sydney today.
Senator Larissa Waters, who established the inquiry, said:
“The inquiry hearings are clearly showing that funding cuts, at both the federal and the state level, are severely impacting women’s refuges, which are already struggling to keep up with demand.
“There’s certainly a lot of rhetoric from the Abbott and Baird governments about domestic violence but their actions speak louder than their words.
Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, said:
“Disgracefully, the Baird Government has removed funding for many women’s only refuges across the state.
“It was only after sustained pressure from women activists that funding was restored to only five inner-city refuges.
“Sadly this doesn’t help women trying to escape domestic violence in Western Sydney and regional areas, where specialist women’s refuges have been forced to close or hand over their keys to the generalist providers.
“We’re calling on the Baird Government to restore funding for specialist women’s services across the whole state and to commit to increasing support to vulnerable women as well as programs to prevent violence”, Dr Faruqi said.
Senator Waters said:
“The under-funding of refuges, coupled with the Abbott Government’s budget cuts to housing, are creating a bottleneck crisis, with more women needing to access refuges than those who are able to move on to safe long-term accommodation.
“On top of this, the Abbott Government’s cuts to single parent support and community legal centres threaten to trap women in violent homes because they are financially unable to escape.
“I genuinely hope that the Abbott Government senators on the inquiry committee will be compelled by the strong and tragic evidence we’re hearing and will be able to convince Cabinet to abandon and reverse these dangerous cuts,” Senator Waters said.