MEDIA RELEASE - DV refuge forced to reduce services due to lack of government support
09 December 2021
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only have we seen an increase in the intensity and severity of domestic violence, but we have also seen an unprecedented demand on our frontline domestic and family violence services.
Domestic violence organisations in Newcastle are telling me the workload is unrelenting and frontline workers have never felt less supported. They are exhausted and burnt out. Morale is low. The situation is dire.
NOVA for Women and Children: Homelessness and Domestic Violence Service, has supported thousands of women who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness in our community. Many are escaping domestic or family violence.
Yesterday, NOVA was forced to make the difficult decision to reduce its services, despite ever-increasing pleas for help. With no capacity to provide additional support, NOVA has shifted to a limited service delivery model.
I know the frontline workers at NOVA. They will be devastated by the prospect of turning women and children away because they don’t have enough staff, funding or resources.
When women and children fleeing violence reach out and ask for help, governments have an obligation to ensure they receive the support they need and are kept safe from harm.
Domestic violence case workers walk with survivors through the hardest - and most dangerous - part of their journey after escaping violence.
It’s an awful fact but there aren’t enough case workers to support the number of women who need help to escape violence.
The announcements in the Federal Budget to address domestic violence did not go anywhere near enough to undo eight years of shameful neglect and disinterest from the Coalition.
Faced with a choice between a quick ‘political fix’ and genuine reform, this Prime Minister chooses hollow announcements and photo ops over actual delivery every time.
In his speech to the Women’s Safety Summit, the Prime Minister said he would listen to the voices of women and their advocates. Since then, there has been very little evidence of delivery.
Indeed, the Morrison Government’s announcement for increased funding for frontline legal centres and domestic and family violence support work still hasn’t reached our frontline providers.
Women fleeing domestic violence, trying to access the one-off ‘escaping violence payment’ have been left waiting months for support, given nothing but false hope.
These services have been running on the smell of an oily rag for years and the Prime Minister’s promise of extra funding is nothing but a heartless con, another hollow announcement from a government with no intention of following through.
Domestic violence services and the women who depend on them are now paying the price for eight long years of neglect by this Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Liberal Government.
Enough is enough. The time for talk is over, we need real leadership and real action to make women’s safety to a national priority.