The state of Victoria is taking a fantastic step forward in trying to solve the Domestic Violence issue that affects so many families. SafeTcard is proud to offer its safety solutions to support this great effort.
Life changing. Extraordinary. A budget with heart.
That is the reaction to the Victorian budget's headline figure of $1.9 billion to implement the 227 recommendations of last year's Royal Commission into Family Violence.
"To be honest I think today is a day for Victoria to be proud. God knows we've had enough days to be ashamed of," said Fiona McCormack, the CEO of the peak body Domestic Violence Victoria"
"It's kind of like pinch yourself, is it true? I'm gobsmacked.
"Family violence is an area that's been neglected for ages. It's a slog.
"You see women speaking out, families who've lost loved ones — a lot of the time it's soul destroying when that's not necessarily met with the kind of response that's required."
The budget measures include:
- $448.1 million to establish 17 one-stop-shop Support and Safety Hubs
- more than $270 million for victim assistance, support and counselling
- $269.4 million to introduce specialist Family Violence Courts and expand legal assistance for victims
"These were the key features of the blueprint laid out by the Royal Commission," Ms McCormack said.
"It's about creating a multidisciplinary approach where all the parts of the system are talking to each other.
"What we're seeing is a Government that's committed not just in words but in funding. It's brilliant."
The CEO of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS), Emma King, called it a "phenomenal" amount of money to address family violence.
"The Government should be commended for genuinely acting on the recommendations of the Family Violence Royal Commission," Ms King said.
"These measures will save lives."
'It's about creating cultural change'
The Victorian coroner reported on 24 family violence deaths last year — 15 women and nine children.
One survivor said the funding meant "we're on our way to making sure other Victorians won't have to go through what I did".
"They won't have to know what it's like to end up in hospital, and feel like you can't tell anyone who put you there."
Renee Carr, the executive director of advocacy organisation Fair Agenda, called for bipartisan support for the funding.
"We can't let this be treated as a political football," she said.
"That's why we're calling on the Opposition to commit their bipartisan support, so more women in danger will be able to get the help they need regardless of who wins the next election."
Ms McCormack said the budget measures would benefit Victoria as a whole, given the effects of family violence ripple through the community, costing the state $3.4 billion annually.
It figures in more than 60 per cent of substantiated child protection cases and is also a key driver of homelessness.
"This is about creating a safer community. And I'll tell you what else it is, it's cultural change," Ms McCormack said.
"So often we've had governments that are apathetic but now, if you're a man who chooses to use violence, we are saying: we're building a system that holds you to account. That's an important cultural message."