The Senate Inquiry into domestic violence interim report, tabled this afternoon, recommends the Abbott Government restore the funding it has cut from domestic violence services.
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for women, who established the inquiry, said:
"The Committee decided to release an interim report, before our final report in June, to make sure our recommendations could be considered in budget deliberations.
"As recommended by the Committee, the funding cuts to legal services, housing and homelessness services and the Department of Social Services grants program, must be restored.
"The committee heard harrowing evidence about the impacts of last year's budget cuts, including women being turned away from already overrun refuges to face either sleeping on the street or returning to violence.
"Phone calls for help are ringing out in crisis line centres because there are not enough staff to answer the endless calls.
"Volunteer law students are filling in at women's legal centres because there isn't enough funding to keep paying qualified lawyers, despite the tragically high demand for their important advice
"We simply cannot allow the funding cuts to be repeated in this year's budget and the committee is strongly recommending that the funding already cut be restored.
"It's now up to Tony Abbott to make amends for his poor track record as Minister for Women and follow through on his claim that addressing domestic violence was a national priority by implementing the Committee's recommendations," Senator Waters said.
Contact: Monique Vandeleur 0419 626 725
Abbott Government cuts to services that help women escaping domestic violence include (p.2-3 of the Interim Report):
• $64 million from community legal centres and legal over four years
• Funding uncertainty for 39 domestic violence services which will run out of money on 30 June 2015 under the $115 million National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness after it was renewed for one year in 2014 instead of four years.
• $44 million from new shelters and emergency accommodation under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness
• $240 million from Department of Social Services grants program, including cutting three housing and homelessness peak bodies announced three days before Christmas in 2014.
• Abolition of the National Rental Affordability Scheme, amounting to a cut of $235.2m over 3 years
• Abolition of the National Housing Supply Council