Thousands of WA women being left in danger without access to family violence services
The WA government is still leaving thousands of women without the service support they need to escape family violence and live free from fear now and into the future.
Escaping an abuser can be difficult and dangerous; in many cases it's impossible to do without support. That's why properly resourced family violence services are critical to the safety of women and children affected.
Every day services aren't fully funded is another day women and children are left in danger. But right now none of the major parties is committed to properly resourcing these potentially life-saving services. The upcoming WA state election is a critical moment to change that, particularly by building pressure in key marginal seats.
Together, WA Community Legal Centres, Women's Community Health Network WA, Shelter WA, Unions WA, the Women's Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services, and Fair Agenda are calling on the WA government to commit to fully fund family violence services in WA.
Can you help build the community's call for full funding of family violence services?
*If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, you can call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for 24/7 support. If you are in immediate danger call 000.
Australia is in the midst of a family violence crisis. The statistics are stark. 81,900 women in Australia say they have wanted to escape their current violent partner, but never have. A further 1 in 12 women have indicated they have been forced to return to their abusive partner because they had nowhere else to go. At the same time, the services women and children need to live free from danger are being under-funded by governments; leaving thousands of women in danger. We are not responding adequately to the scale and impact of the harm caused by family violence.
- Specialist domestic and family violence services aren't resourced to meet the high level of demand, which undermines the safety of those experiencing family violence and their potential for recovery.
- Community Legal Centres provide critical support to women affected by family violence. But inadequate funding forces them to turn away 160,000 people a year across the nation (including but not limited to those affected by family violence).
- Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing family violence. Without an increase in resourcing for their critical front-line work they are unable to meet current high demand and engage in important prevention work.
- Homelessness and housing systems cannot guarantee women and children a safe place to stay or a permanent home that is affordable. For those who remain at home, monitoring of the perpetrator is inadequate. Adequate resourcing is essential to keep women and children safe at home and ensure suitable and stable housing.
- Men's behaviour change programs require increased investment to ensure a timely, consistent and rigorous approach to perpetrator accountability. The current response to perpetrators remains under-developed and poorly funded. As a consequence, victims remain responsible for managing their own safety even after they have sought protection from the justice system.
- Primary prevention strategies are designed to dismantle harmful attitudes towards women, promote gender equality and encourage respectful relationships. Only a small amount of government funding goes to prevention. Prevention activities are often funded for short periods. But changing behaviours and attitudes requires long- term investment. Failure to give greater priority to prevention efforts will leave the service system overwhelmed and under-resourced as another generation faces the plight of today’s victims of family violence.
- Domestic violence leave is an essential workplace entitlement that can help women keep their jobs and maintain financial independence as they escape violence. Staying employed is critical to staying economically independent upon leaving violence. It is essential that the new Government supports domestic violence leave as a workplace entitlement to assist in the prevention of family and domestic violence and in women’s recovery.
For fact sheets and detailed information, visit the Safe Systems website here [www.safesystemswa.org]
Family violence groups say $2 billion a year is needed nationally to address massive turn-away levels that are leaving women in danger, but so far neither party has committed enough resourcing to fully fund the services women rely on to be safe from violence. Can you join the campaign?