It’s time to fix our broken safety net
Australia is in the middle of a domestic violence crisis but our safety net is full of holes. We are failing victims and survivors of domestic violence, and we need to invest in the solutions. The Greens are putting forward a bold plan to increase investment in front line services with a ten-year, $5 billion commitment.
The crisis in Australian homes
Domestic and family violence touches people from every walk of life. The data indicates that one in four women in Australia have experienced one or more incidents of violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
The Greens have consulted with experts and front line service providers and we are proposing a rapid and significant increase in funding for domestic violence services, and a broad program of reforms to keep victims and survivors safe, hold perpetrators to account and work for gender equality.
Increased media attention and awareness is vital, but as more victims seek help, demand on already overstretched services will keep climbing. For example, in Victoria police now respond to 70,000 DV incidents a year, which is a 70% increase over 5 years. In the same period, the support services for women have only received a small increase in funding.
In Queensland, increasing demand has seen domestic violence-related legal casework in the community sector rise by 355%.
Funding for services
The Greens will create a new National Partnership Agreement on Domestic Violence and Violence Against Women for specialist services such as crisis phone services, women's shelters, training for service providers, counselling, perpetrator interventions, and other specialist domestic violence services.
Our plan will also roll out perpetrator interventions including men's behaviour change programs and early intervention "system design" programs worth $128 million over 4 years within the new National Partnership Agreement.
Thirdly, we would fund a national peak body for specialist domestic violence services with $8 million over 4 years.
The Greens are committed to increased funding for legal assistance by at least $200 million per year, including $144 million over 4 years and secure long term funding for Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, and increased funding for CLCs, Legal Aid and ATSILS. The Greens' full Access to Justice package will be announced in the coming weeks.
We would make family law safe, with a $60 million package to implement the Safety First in Family Law plan from Women's Legal Services Australia.
The Greens would also support State and Territory governments who chose to roll out specialist domestic violence courts with $5 million over 2 years.
A safe place to live
Our plan will spend $100 million over 2 years on capital works for crisis accommodation to build more shelters, premises or other projects as required to make sure no-one is left without a place to stay.
We would build long-term affordable housing to clear the bottleneck in the system, as part of the Greens' National Housing Roadmap including immediate construction of 14,500 affordable dwellings funded by changes to negative gearing.
Supporting victims and survivors
We would make our workplaces safe by providing 10 days of paid domestic violence leave as a right for every worker.
The new National Partnership Agreement will also support young people who are suffering from domestic violence. There is an urgent need for appropriately trained workers in domestic violence services and for dedicated support services for children experiencing violence and supporting young people who are victims of violence.