More funding for domestic and family violence and sexual assault responses

The ACT Government is increasing funding to build on its effective, decisive, and evidence-based approach to addressing domestic and family violence and expand and grow the focus on sexual assault prevention.

The ACT Government will stage an increase to the Safer Families Levy of $5 per year over four years, taking the Levy from $30 per household currently to $50 per household in 2024/25. The Levy increase will go directly to funding these vital initiatives.

This will deliver a total of $8.8 million over the next 4 years to expand funding for essential family, domestic and sexual violence initiatives for the ACT community. Funding from the Levy will be prioritised to frontline service delivery by both community and government services.

“Rates of domestic and family violence and the growing national conversation about sexual assault have strengthened Canberrans’ calls for action and the ACT Government is responding accordingly. These are issues that have touched people from all walks of life in our community,” said Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry.

“A small increase in the Safer Families Levy each year for the next four years will enable the community to contribute to the enhancement of frontline services in a tangible way. Together we can tackle these challenges by supporting victim survivors and the services making a difference in their lives. Canberrans will be able to see their contribution to addressing this whole of community problem through the dedicated item on their rates notices.

The Safer Families Levy was established in 2016 to build a dedicated response to domestic and family violence in the ACT. It has already proved effective in coordinating and delivering services to respond to domestic and family violence,” said Ms Berry.

In addition to existing funded services, the 2021/22 Budget will deliver expanded programs through the increase to the Safer Families Levy, including:

  • $2.2 million over four years for more frontline domestic violence and rape crisis services through the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and the Domestic Violence Crisis Centre to meet increased service demand.
  • $4.1 million over four years for the Health Justice Partnerships program consisting of much needed lawyers across Legal Aid and Women’s Legal Centre to help women presenting in health and hospital settings, and for the evaluation of the program.
  • $817,000 over four years for the private rental assistance program for people experiencing domestic and family violence to give vital financial assistance to women escaping family violence.
  • $1.4 million over four years including provisioned funding of $698,000 in 2023-24 and 2024-25 for the Safer Families Collaboration Program, which consists of two full-time staff in the Domestic Violence Crisis Service to work with our ACT Child Youth Protection Services, as well as funding for the Safe and Together Institute to deliver specialised capability building to frontline child protection workers.
  • $790,000 over four years to scope and design domestic and family violence responses for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, in response to the We Don’t Shoot Our Wounded Report. This will include sitting fees for the Domestic Violence Prevention Council Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reference group.
  • $249,000 for the Family Violence Safety Action Pilot, to expand integrated case work capacity and coordinated effort to meet increased demand on services to better respond to the needs of high-risk families.
  • $400,000 over four years to continue funding Women’s Safety Grants.
  • $1.5 million over four years for our landmark Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program to deliver working in partnership with our stakeholders and our community development of a robust approach to sexual assault in Canberra that focusses on prevention, response, law reform, and workplace safety.

Full details of the funding and delivery through the Safer Families Levy will be provided when the ACT Budget is delivered on 31 August 2021.

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