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Good to see Budget measures addressing domestic violence

Date published: Tuesday 9 May 2017

Category(ies): Media release

The peak body for Baptist community service organisations, Baptist Care Australia, welcomes the government’s Budget announcements supporting people affected by domestic and family violence.

“It’s particularly important that the government has reversed its decision to cut funding for community legal centres. This support is an essential component of helping women to rebuild their lives and those of their children,” said Marcia Balzer, Executive Director of Baptist Care Australia.

“The Victorian Government set the benchmark last week with its comprehensive, $2 billion commitment to address all aspects of the domestic violence scourge – from prevention through to supporting survivors, and holding perpetrators accountable.

“It’s refreshing to see real action and commitment to the epidemic of violence against Australian women that sees an ongoing death toll, and immeasurable suffering for women and their children. The Australian government could take a leaf from Victoria’s book.

“However, it is still a positive commitment of $55.7 million to maintain funding for community legal centres to help in the battle against family violence.

“There is a modest new commitment of $3.4 million over two years to expand Specialist Domestic Violence Units to provide services to women and children escaping domestic violence, along with a commitment to improve the family law system to better protect people affected by family violence.”

Baptist Care Australia made a submission last week to the parliamentary inquiry into how the family law system can better protect people affected by family violence. It called for urgent reforms to allow these families to stay safe and be able to rebuild their lives after leaving a traumatic situation.

“In addition to the government’s welcome budget allocations, it’s vital that parliament takes immediate action to improve how the family law system deals with family violence – and for the government to guarantee those measures will be adequately funded in the next Federal Budget,” Ms Balzer said.

The Baptist Care Australia network helps people affected by family violence to heal and rebuild their lives. Services include individual and group counselling for survivors, perpetrators, and for children. Early intervention programs target young men affected by violence. Crisis and medium-term accommodation services include a range of education and support programs and a no-interest loan scheme to buy household items.

ENDS

Marcia Balzer, Executive Director, Baptist Care Australia, marcia.balzer@baptistcareaustralia.org.au, 0430 175 310