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Surging demand for domestic violence legal services: Turnbull must reverse Abbott-era cut, boost funding by $200 million

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 31 Mar 2016

With a report released today showing increased demand for domestic violence legal services in Queensland, the Greens are calling on the Turnbull Government to reverse its funding cut to community legal centres and boost long term funding.

At the Women's Legal Service in Brisbane today, Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said Tony Abbott's 30 per cent cut to community legal centres due in 2017, must be abandoned in the May federal budget.

"This is really pretty basic stuff - you don't cut proven, effective services for women in the middle of a domestic violence crisis," Senator Di Natale said.

"We are arguing against these harsh cuts, but we're also calling on the government to drastically boost funding.

"Even though women are currently being turned away due to a lack of funding, the Coalition Government wants to cut 30 per cent of the existing funding for community legal centres starting in July 2017.

"Every woman who bravely reaches out for help to escape violence must receive it, which is why the Greens want this funding cut reversed and a further $200 million a year for legal assistance," Senator Di Natale said.

Senator Larissa Waters said the new report by the Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services showed casework for domestic violence matters had more than tripled since 2011.

"Once a taboo topic, domestic violence is now a high profile issue, with more and more women are bravely reaching out for the support they need to escape.

"But the Turnbull Government is failing these women. Just as the demand for domestic violence legal services surges, the government wants to cut funding by a third.

"Victims need more than just words - they need funded support to escape and move on with their lives, including legal services, crisis support, safe accommodation and domestic violence leave," Senator Waters said.

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