Women fleeing violent partners are being put at risk by a government plan to make them wait a week for welfare, the nation’s peak welfare body says.
The Australian Council of Social Services believes legislation before federal parliament that imposes a welfare waiting period for young people and some parents could have broader impacts.
Besides the one-month payment wait for under 25s, another measure imposes a one-week wait for those on parenting and youth allowance payments.
The council argues that will mean some women will fall through the cracks, regardless of exemptions for those experiencing domestic violence.
That’s because victims are often reluctant to disclose they are at risk, ACOSS said in a submission to a Senate inquiry into the draft laws.
Any waiting period could delay women from fleeing violent relationships because they have no money, putting them and their children in danger, it said.
Representatives from ACOSS, welfare bodies and charities are scheduled to appear before an inquiry hearing in Canberra on Wednesday.
Officials from the social services and employment departments will also give evidence.