Family Violence - funding for programs (16.9.2015)

Written on the 17 September 2015


16 September 2015

COUNCIL 

Adjournment

 

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)

My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. Sadly, we are hearing far too many instances of family violence and of deaths amongst women and children across our state and nation. In Victoria the incidence of family violence and the subsequent demand for services have increased in recent months, or are not diminishing, and some of the cases are becoming more complex. Many agencies have spoken to me about the need to meet those demands. There has been an increase in demand partly because of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, but in areas like Ballarat, where the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has held hearings, the demand for some services has also increased.

In recent times there have been a number of media reports about the issue. I refer to one published earlier this week from the Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault, which is really struggling with the demands of the issues I have highlighted and also with some of the cases it is seeing.

They are talking about children-to-children sexual abuse cases that are requiring complex counselling and the outreach services that that agency has to undertake in surrounding districts. It is putting great demand on that service. An article in today's Age outlines how a number of agencies are working in partnership on various programs. It states:

The state government pledged $900 000 in the budget to protect 45 of Victoria's most at-risk women with a formal one-year pilot hoped to be underway ahead of the Royal Commission into Family Violence making recommendations.

We know that the royal commission is due to conclude in February next year, but these partnerships, programs and pilots that I have just referred to are doing some very good work to protect women and children. They are relying on that money being forthcoming so that they can continue with their work.

In a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing earlier this year in relation to a question about funding, the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence said:

 

This entire budget, in a sense, is a holding pattern, waiting for the royal commission's recommendations

 

As I have just highlighted, we have an increase in demand for services from agencies and organisations dealing with this very critical issue.

The action I seek from the minister is that the budget not be kept in this holding pattern and that funding be provided to those services and agencies, especially those pilot programs, that are working to keep Victoria's women and children safe from family violence.


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