Sydney Monday 11th February 2019

Government needs to get serious on funding Domestic Violence Crisis Services

 Sydney - 11 February 2019: Women’s Electoral Lobby has labelled today’s Federal Government announcement of $78 million for safe places for women and children escaping domestic violence, as a “pathetic amount of money which is simply window dressing for the Federal election.”

WEL’s Women’s and Children’s Safety program estimates the need for an additional $454 million in Commonwealth funds in 2019/20 to meet crisis accommodation and wrap-around services for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

This new money also needs to be matched by states and territories to meet the current demand.

WEL’s Ending Violence against Women Action Group Convenor, Cat Gander, wrote to the Treasurer in early 2018 about the funding required.

“We need a $2 billion commitment from the Commonwealth over five years,” said Jozefa Sobski, a spokeswoman for WEL Australia.

WEL developed the Women’s and Children’s Safety Program, a five year, $2 billion fully-costed program that ensures the continuation and enhancement of Commonwealth/State funding of women’s refuges and other front-line services dealing with violence against women. This Program had the support of over 30 women’s organisations across Australia.

“The leaders of the major political parties appear to agree that ending the violence is a national priority. The Government’s own National Action Plan to 2022 acknowledges the seriousness of the issue. Today’s announcement is a derisory funding commitment,” said Ms Sobski a spokeswoman for WEL Australia.

“The main funding program for homelessness services, which includes women’s refuges, is the current National Housing and Homelessness Agreement. These Commonwealth with States bilateral Agreements have not been allocated any new money. So gaps in services remain across Australia. Victoria is the only state that has made a serious funding commitment to address this critical national need.

“With the number of women being killed each year in domestic related incidents, and thousands of others needing the safety of emergency services each day, this is not good enough,” Ms Sobski said.

“When will the Government’s rhetoric be matched by adequate ongoing funding? When will they listen to the women on the front line of service support and respect their advice?” said Ms Sobski.


Available for comment:

Jozefa Sobski AM, Contact for WEL Violence Against Women Action Group.

Mobile: 0403 895929