The Greens welcome the announcement of additional funding for domestic violence counselling and referral services during this crisis, but warn more targeted funding is essential to create extra capacity.
“The scale of government assistance for frontline services supporting survivors of family and domestic violence does not meet the demand fuelled by self-isolation during the Covid-19 crisis,” said Greens Senate Leader and spokesperson on Women, Senator Larissa Waters.
“The extra funding for domestic violence counselling and referral is welcome, but more referrals to already stretched frontline services won’t create extra capacity. An additional $150 million to a referral and counselling phone line is inadequate when experts say housing (both crisis and long-term), legal support and policing is needed.
“Helping victims to understand their options and the services available to them is critical. But without extra funding for the already stretched services women are being sent to, more referrals just creates more unmet demand.
“It is utterly heartbreaking that google searches for domestic violence assistance are at a five-year peak and some services are already reporting an increase in demand.
“Experts have told the Government they urgently need additional funds for crisis accommodation, expanding Safe at Home programs and support for specialist staff to respond to increased demand.
“Governments must listen when these front line services say more funding will make a difference and invest to fix the domestic violence crisis,” she said.