Preventing Family Violence

One woman a week is murdered by a current or former partner. Family violence hurts children and ripples through generations. This must change.

LABOR’S PLAN

A Labor Government will more than double investment in the Fourth Action Plan to prevent and respond to family violence, delivering record Commonwealth funding of over $660 million. 

Early intervention and education, frontline services, emergency accommodation and legal services will all receive a significant boost under Labor.

More support for frontline services:

  • Double Fourth Action Plan funding for refuges and emergency accommodation. Investing an additional $60 million, meaning more refuges in areas of need, modern core-and-cluster facilities that accommodate older children and pets, accessibility upgrades, and better facilities for younger children.  $20 million of this investment will be set aside for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander refuges and safe houses.
  • More transitional and affordable housing. Establishing an $88 million Safe Housing Fund to deliver transitional and emergency housing for women and children escaping violence, older women at risk of homelessness and young people exiting out of home care.  We will also construct 250,000 affordable homes, helping women and children escaping family violence to quickly find stability and re-build their lives.
  • More legal assistance: Establishing a $90 million Preventing Family Violence Legal Services Fund, including:
    • $42.5 million extra for Community Legal Centres. This will mean 115,000 more women able to access professional legal assistance when they need it most.
    • $21.5 million extra for Family Violence Prevention Legal Centres. This will make dedicated legal support available to First Nations women in more areas and provide a much-needed boost in areas where women are currently being turned away because of inadequate funding. 
    • $21 million to double the number of Specialist Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice partnerships. This will mean an additional 18 Specialist Domestic Violence units and five extra Health Justice Partnerships – providing specialist support to women in hospitals, health services and in the community.
    • $5 million to support the expansion of Family and Domestic Violence courts by establishing national standards and providing training for judicial and court officers. 

Investing in prevention:

  • Community led responses. Providing $62 million in Local Community Prevention and Frontline Service Grants, including dedicated streams for First Nations women, women with disability, culturally and linguistically diverse women and LGBTIQ people.

Labor will work with local sporting organisations on prevention programs, invest in support for children affected by family violence and resource evidence-based men’s behaviour change programs.

Bill Lodwick and Labor will also ensure dedicated LGBTIQ family violence services are established in all states and territories.

  • Supporting respectful relationships education in schools:Providing $35 million to state and territory and non-government school systems to deliver best-practice, evidence-based, age-appropriate respectful relationships education in schools. 
  • Better risk management: Trialling the Integrated Safety Response model in up to five locations, at a cost of $2 million. This strategy pulls existing services together to reach at-risk families earlier and proactively deliver men’s behaviour change programs.

More practical support for women:

  • Flexible Support Packages: Investing $60 million in 20,000 Flexible Support Packages of up to $10,000 to support people escaping family violence in the ways that help them the most – such as rent, furniture, transport, medication, home security and transport costs.
  • Paid domestic violence leave: Legislating 10 days paid domestic violence leave as part of the National Employment Standard. Because people experiencing family violence should not have to choose between leaving a violent relationship and keeping their job.
  • Better Centrelink Services: Supporting women and their children, including through:
    • 25 Family Violence Specialists to provide trauma informed and rapid support for people experiencing family violence – including through co-location with specialist family violence services.
    • Priority processing and a dedicated Family Violence phone line, to make sure people get payments quickly and can get straight through to a specialist who can support them.
    • Extending the Crisis Payment claim window to four weeks in cases of family violence, as people are often unable to claim without the current one-week window. 
    • Waiving social security debt incurred through family violence coercion and pursuing perpetrators for the debt when safe to do so.
    • Reviewing Centrelink processes and services to make sure staff have up-to-date family violence training. And making it easier for people to identify that they are experiencing family violence and get help; on the phone, at terminals, through forms and at Centrelink offices.
  • Supporting Women on temporary visas: Reviewing immigration and social security arrangements and invest $5 million in services and interpreters.  The Australian Law Reform Commission and the Victorian Royal Commission have recommended changes, as visa status is often used control women and temporary residents can struggle to access the services they need.
  • Recognising economic abuse: Changing the law to ensure that economic abuse is a recognised form of family violence, and that dowry abuse can be one of many kinds of financial abuse.
  • Tackling forced marriage: Introducing forced marriage protection orders and establishing a Commonwealth Forced Marriage Unit to assist victims, at a cost of $13.6 million.

Making family violence a national priority:

  • National leadership: Making the prevention of violence against women and their children a COAG priority. Because all governments need to work together towards lasting change.
  • New national plan: Immediately starting work on a new 10-Year plan to prevent violence against women and their children. For the first time this will include dedicated national strategies for:
    • First Nations women.
    • Women with disability.
    • Culturally and linguistically diverse women.
    • LGBTIQ people.

Labor will also establish a national advisory group to guide the development of the plan – replacing the advisory panel axed by the Nationals.

Labor is committed to the $328 million investment in the Fourth Action Plan, including its focus on prevention.

Labor will also work with the sector to implement recommendations from the Senate committee inquiry into 1800RESPECT that will strengthen service delivery going forward.

Labor will show the national leadership required to put the prevention of family violence back at the top of the national agenda.

We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.

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