New programs to support victims of domestic violence

New support and education programs are being rolled out in South Australia to help people break free of abusive relationships.

Minister Josh Teague said $1 million has been allocated to the Women’s Safety Service SA (WSSSA) and the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to better support victims of domestic violence, with a specific focus on those who experience coercive control.

“Coercive control is an especially insidious form of abuse where a perpetrator seeks to take control over aspects of their victim’s life – such as controlling their finances, or trying to isolate them from friends or family,” Minister Teague said.

“It can often fly under the radar because it is not always overt and does not always involve violence.

“These new programs will help those experiencing coercive control and will raise community awareness contributing to reducing the incidence of such abuse.”

Minister Teague said the LSC has received funding over two years to launch a community awareness campaign, help link clients who may be experiencing this abuse to health and welfare supports and dedicate additional resources to applications for intervention orders.

“Coercive control is insidious and escalating,”, Director of the Legal Services Commission Ms Gabrielle Canny said.

“For almost 30 years we’ve provided specialist legal help to domestic violence victims and, in recent years, we’ve seen a significant rise in cases involving coercive control.

“Perpetrators often use technology to assert that control – but free legal assistance is available to help stop this abuse and empower women to break free from this controlling and destructive behaviour.”

The WSSSA has also secured funding to help identify clients who may be victims of coercive control and provide information and assistance, including referrals to other support services, through the state-wide 24/7 Domestic Violence Crisis Line.

“Shining a light on the impact of coercive control and patterns of controlling behaviour is critical and we welcome resourcing to support this campaign to support women and children experiencing DFV,” WSSSA Chief Executive Officer Maria Hagias said.

“These are programs that can help link victims of domestic violence to the supports they need while enabling them to leave abusive relationships.”

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