“We are really pleased to see the government listening to our members who have been loudly calling for more support for frontline services”. Women’s Safety NSW responds to the NSW Budget.
Women’s Safety NSW welcomes the increased funding announced for frontline domestic and family violence services in NSW’s State Budget, and importantly the increased investment in the Staying Home, Leaving Violence program which ensures victim survivors are afforded the option to stay home safely. We thank the NSW Government for listening and getting on board with funding frontline DFV services.
Ash Johnstone, the acting CEO of Women’s Safety NSW states, “It is great to see investment in the Staying Home, Leaving Violence program. $32.5 million over four years will see this vital program expanded across NSW and will provide vital support to survivors of domestic and family violence. We also really value the additional $60 million over two years dedicated to frontline domestic and sexual violence services. This investment shows that there has been a real recognition of the life saving work being done by our frontline domestic and family violence workers, who have been dealing with a dramatic increase in client work since the COVID-19 pandemic began”.
Women’s Safety NSW hopes to see an increase to funding which matches the current need for services in the community with the announcement of the National Plan later this year. “Womens Safety NSW joins the calls of other organisations and advocates to ask for there to be a greater focus on creating safe homes for survivors of domestic, family and sexual abuse. We look forward to the upcoming National Plan conversations that we expect will have a greater focus on providing more support for women and children who cannot stay home and need somewhere safe to go.” says Ash Johnstone.
Women’s Safety NSW believes investing in social housing and specifically addressing the demand for housing in regional NSW would enable safety for women and children leaving violent situations. It is paramount that safe accommodation be made available to survivors, as our most recent survey (yet to be published) found that the vast majority of our members’ clients were unable to access social or community housing. We also look forward to working with our partners to ensure that this funding will meet the needs of Indigenous women, multicultural women, and
women with disabilities, who all experience domestic and family violence in unique ways which require specialised support.
Women’s Safety NSW also welcomes the increased funding for safer courts, as for victims of domestic and family violence, access to safe rooms is vital. “Increasing the accessibility to safe rooms and the ability to give evidence via AVL, is paramount to ensuring that victim survivors of domestic and family violence are able to have their voice heard, in a more trauma informed and safe way.” says Ash Johnstone.
Victim survivors have long spoken about the fear they hold attending court, knowing that they will have to face their abuser. “… I would not have been able to attend [court] at the time if I had not been able to access a safe room as I have a very physical terror response to the sight of my former partner.” – victim-survivor, woman, aged 50-59. Women’s Safety NSW is hopeful that this fear will be somewhat lessened through the expansion of safer court facilities.
Women’s Safety NSW is a peak representative body for women’s specialist domestic and family violence services. Our purpose is to advocate on behalf of our members for women’s safety, justice and wellbeing in the context of domestic and family violence through policy, practice, law reform and cultural change.