Domestic violence victim-survivors across the Goulburn electorate will have more vital help available during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the NSW Government and Federal Governments investing more than $21 million to boost services and other supports.

The investment comprises $12.8 million from the NSW Government and $8.8 million from the Commonwealth Government.

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman MP said the pandemic has potentially increased the risk of abuse in violent homes.

“As we have been following the strict health orders in place and staying home over the past few weeks to protect the community from COVID-19, domestic violence victims have been at risk of abuse behind closed doors,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“More women and children have been forced to seek assistance from frontline services and are also presenting with more complex needs.”

Mrs Tuckerman said the package responds to a range of issues to help protect women and children and to ultimately save lives.

“Programs that provide safer housing, emergency accommodation, counselling, crisis support, helplines, behaviour change programs and interventions, as well as responding to challenges in rural and remote locations are the priority,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“Every person across the region has a right to live a life free from violence. When it’s safe to do so, I urge anyone experiencing abuse to contact the NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63 or if it is an emergency call the Police on Triple Zero (000).”

The NSW Government’s package includes the following additional supports:

Frontline support services

  • Funding for frontline specialist domestic violence services to respond to increasing demand and complexity of cases;
  • A boost to for the 24/7 NSW Domestic Violence Line that provides crisis counseling and support referrals;
  • Increasing staff at Legal Aid’s NSW Domestic Violence hotline, while bolstering legal information available online;
  • More service capacity at the State’s Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services; and,
  • Resources for targeted responses to especially vulnerable groups like Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, people with disability, multicultural communities, LGBTIQ communities and women living in rural and remote areas.

Escaping violent homes

  • Access to more funding for the State’s 84 women’s refuges for additional staff, more training, and basic material supports like food vouchers or safe phones for victims;
  • Funding to allow companion animals to be accommodated in women’s refuges or animal shelters so women can leave violent homes without worrying their pet will be harmed; and,
  • A six-month ‘pop-up’ safe house in the Northern Beaches area to give highly vulnerable women and their children temporary and emergency accommodation.

Staying safe at home

  • More duress alarm devices for victims to access if they’re remaining in their home as part of the Staying Home Leaving Violence (SHLV) program;
  • Improved access to case management services for SHLV clients; and,
  • Temporary accommodation for perpetrators if they’re removed from a property by police and have nowhere else to stay (or based on protection orders) so that victims can remain safely at home.

Holding perpetrators to account

  • A boost in funding for men’s behaviour change programs to respond to heightened demand while adjusting their service delivery to work remotely, if required;
  • More support for No To Violence to expand their training and support for frontline staff who deliver perpetrator programs across NSW; and,
  • Funding to launch an app that helps perpetrators understand and therefore comply with Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs).

Raising awareness

  • Extension of Toolbox Talks – a program that educates and empowers thousands of workers in the construction and mining industries to identify and report abuse; and,
  • A digital media campaign to support victims and encourage the community to report domestic violence.

“Remember, if you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, multiple services are available to provide immediate support,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

Available services include:

  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) is a confidential information, counselling and support service;
  • NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 65 64 63) is a statewide telephone crisis counselling and referral service for women;
  • Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491) provide telephone counselling, information and referrals for men;
  • Link2Home (1800 152 152) can help refer women experiencing domestic violence to crisis accommodation; and
  • Lifeline (13 11 14) is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

If you are in danger or in an emergency, always contact Triple Zero (000)