Extra COVID-19 Funding for Mackay High-Risk Team

An extra $50,000 has been invested in the Mackay Women’s Services to boost the coordination of domestic and family violence responses in Mackay.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer was in Mackay today for one of the High-Risk Team’s Case Conferencing meetings to map out options for people at risk and living with violence.

“Coordinated by the Domestic Violence Resource Service (Mackay and Region) Inc, the High-Risk Team brings together government and domestic violence experts to link vulnerable Mackay families with the safety and services they need,” Ms Farmer said.

“The extra $50,000 in Commonwealth funding the Palaszczuk Government is investing in the Domestic and Family Violence Resource Service will assist non-specialist services encountering more clients affected by domestic and family violence as a result COVID-19 to access specialist advice.

“Mackay’s High-Risk Team is saving the lives of at-risk Queenslanders and by providing more coordination resources through Domestic Violence Resource Service we can ensure all women receive an informed response, irrespective of where they seek support.

“Across Queensland, police have reported an increase of more than 23 per cent in domestic and family violence crime.

“In the Mackay region, COVID-19 has created a perfect storm of unemployment, financial pressures and drug and alcohol abuse for many families under pressure and at risk of family violence.”

Mackay’s High-Risk Team coordinated by the Domestic Violence Resource Service includes Police, Health, the Department of Housing, Youth Justice, Child Safety and domestic violence experts.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the $50,000 for Domestic Violence Resource Service was in addition to top-up funding for domestic violence services in the Mackay region.

“Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Palaszczuk Government injected more than $128,000 in extra funding to help domestic and family services including the Domestic Violence Resource Service to gear up for an increase in calls for help,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“I want to thank Domestic Violence Resource Centre’s expert, caring and understanding team for being at the forefront of the local response to COVID-19’s perfect storm .

“They’ve stepped up to help Mackay residents when they’ve needed it most.

“More than $1.89 million has already been delivered to the Domestic Violence Resource Service in ongoing funding this year to support people living with domestic and family violence to start new lives.

“Almost $1 million in Palaszczuk Government funding has also been distributed to Uniting Care and the Salvation Army to stop the violence and a service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

“The Community Housing and Information Centre is using Department of Housing funding to lease another 20 homes in Mackay to support woman and their children escaping domestic violence during the pandemic.

“It’s essential assistance for Mackay families who too often have no choice but to flee a violent home with only the clothes on their backs.”

The Domestic Violence Resource Service’s Executive Director Dr Anne Butcher said as the state’s COVID-19 recovery begins, the extra money from the Palaszczuk Government has helped the service do more.

“We’ve been able to help a lot more women than we would have been able to otherwise without that additional funding,” Dr Butcher said.

“To help with the extra workload, we’ve also been able to put on more part-time staff.

“We have definitely seen an increase in people needing help, so there definitely has been a spike in women reaching out for support and counselling during the COVID period.

“We’ve been so glad we’ve been able to provide a response at a time when it has been needed.”

Dr Butcher said women had also borne the brunt of job losses in the Mackay region during COVID-19.

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