30 May 2016
Four weeks into the Federal election campaign the Women’s Electoral Lobby has called for the major parties to make ending Australia’s domestic violence a key priority.
WEL has written to the political parties seeking an urgent commitment that women’s and children’s safety become a national priority during this federal election and commit the funds needed to ensure that women’s refuges and other front-line services receive adequate and secure funding.
“The three major parties have released policies on domestic violence, but what’s missing is the guarantee to provide frontline, life-saving services for women and children escaping violence,” WEL spokeswoman Helen L’Orange said.
“The leaders of the major political parties appear to agree that ending the violence is a national priority but there’s been no sign of the practical commitment required.
“The main funding program for homelessness services, which includes women’s refuges, expires in June 2017, and there’s no commitment from the major parties to guarantee the future of women’s refuges and other frontline emergency services including transitional housing.
“With more than one woman being killed a week, and thousands of others needing the safety of emergency services, this is not good enough,” Ms L’Orange said.
“The federal Budget provides new funding of only $33.3m a year limited to just three years towards the Fourth National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, but it’s mainly for awareness-raising campaigns and there is no new funding for women’s refuges or other frontline women’s services.
“Yet the Federal Government is willing to spend $38.8m to move the Australian Cyber Security Centre out of the ASIO building in Canberra so that it will be “more accessible to business.””
WEL has developed the Women’s and Children’s Safety Program, a five year, $1 billion program that ensures the continuation and enhancement of Commonwealth/State funding of women’s refuges and other front line services dealing with violence against women and has the support of over 30 women’s organisations.
“WEL has written to each of the party leaders asking them to commit to the Women’s and Children’s Safety program and we will publish their responses before election day,” Ms L’Orange said.