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Boost for domestic violence services 'doesn't go far enough'

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A leading family violence activist in Ipswich says the federal government’s billion dollar pledge to help victims is a step in the right direction but more still needs to be done.

The spotlight has been on the shocking rate of family and domestic violence in Australia, which has soared since the coronavirus pandemic began.

A number of tragic deaths has also piled pressure onto governments to take action.

In this week’s federal budget, the Morrison Government revealed a $1.1billion package over five years for safety initiatives to tackle family violence and sexual harassment.

Domestic Violence Action Centre CEO Amie Carrington says she welcomes what is an encouraging step, but it doesn’t go far enough.

“There was a missed opportunity to address the primary drivers of family and domestic and sexual violence.

“It would have been positive to see more investment at a national level into primary prevention.

“More investment into programs such as universal school curriculum activities that could address the drivers of domestic violence.”

Money was set aside for addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and making childcare more affordable for families, but Ms Carrington says there was a lack of action around the systemic issue of housing affordability.

“It’s really important we look at the contribution of these primary drivers in domestic and family violence and addressing them, such as the basis of women’s equity in society.

“Ensuring that women have the right to safety and safe relationships.”

State chips in too 

Yesterday, the Queensland Government announced it will provide an extra $30million in funding for domestic, family and sexual violence support programs as demand continues to put pressure on services.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also revealed a "Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce" will be set up to help decide future legislation.

The $30 million will be delivered in annual $7.5 million installments over the next four years.

Ms Carrington is welcoming this decision.

“It will give us additional resources to continue to provide essential services to people who are impacted by family and domestic and sexual violence.”

She says she is still waiting to hear how the money from both the federal and state governments will be administered and is looking forward to seeing the benefits it brings to the local community.