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September 17, 2021

Domestic violence package a good first step

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The Greens welcome this week’s announcement of funding for domestic violence training, services and prevention. However she says long-term secure funding for housing and legal services is still required.

Rosie Batty has put this national emergency firmly on the public agenda and today’s announcement is due to her unwavering work in this area.

Domestic violence is the biggest cause of homelessness in Australia and to solve this we need more crisis accommodation and long-term affordable housing.

The number of single homeless women is increasing in the Richmond electorate, reflecting the national trend. A high percentage of these women are escaping domestic violence.

In 2012/2013 there was an estimated 788 women coming through the Murwillumbah Women’s Shelter alone.

Across the country there is a bottleneck problem, where new arrivals at shelters have to be turned away because women staying at refuges have nowhere safe to move on to long-term.

To be effective, this government needs to reverse its funding cuts, including the $44 million cut from construction of new homelessness shelters and the $235 million cut from the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

While the funding for duty lawyers in hospitals is welcome, the government has still not reversed its cut of $15 million cut from Legal Aid and community legal centres still face a $12 million funding drop in 2017-18.

The solution is clear to those working on the frontline on the North Coast – federal, state and territory governments need to provide long-term secure funding for services, including crisis lines, shelters, legal centres and social support services.

Governments also have a responsibility to work together on prevention strategies and support excellent local initiatives like the Family Centre’s Real Skills program in Tweed Heads, that teaches students in grades eight and 10 how to foster positive relationships.

Dawn Walker, Greens candidate for Richmond


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