The last two Victorian budgets contained unprecedented funding to transform prevention of and responses to family violence. This budget provides a more modest but still welcome investment, particularly in preventing family violence and addressing the gender inequalities and attitudes that give rise to it.
Funding for the Aboriginal 10-year Family Violence Plan recognises the need for culturally safe responses to the high rates of family violence experienced by Aboriginal women and children.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence gave Victoria the blueprint to address the scourge of family violence. What is needed now is long-term, bipartisan commitment to implementing its recommendations.
Continuing the Family Violence Implementation Monitor will help keep government accountable and ensure implementation of Royal Commission recommendations remains on track.
- Preventing family violence
Support for behavioural change campaigns and Free from violence, Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence.
$6m in 2018-19 ($24m/4 years)
- Addressing gender inequality
Initiatives and programs identified in Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy, including funding to restore and upgrade the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre.
$3.3m in 2018-19 ($9.6m/4 years)
- Family violence industry planning
Implementing the Royal Commission recommendations requires significant growth and change in the family violence workforce. The budget supports this through initiatives in the Industry Plan for Family Violence Protection and Response.
$5m in 2018-19
- Family violence therapeutic and flexible support
Continued funding of about 6,500 flexible support packages over each of the next two years to help victim-survivors access counselling and therapeutic supports. Measures also include addressing adolescent violence in the home and funding the Wyndham Multidisciplinary Centre to provide specialist services for victim-survivors of family violence and sexual assault.
$22.6m in 2018-19 ($49.6m/4 years)
- Aboriginal 10-year family violence plan
Helping develop a strong, integrated Aboriginal workforce and family violence prevention and response sector to create better access, equity and choice of appropriate family violence services for Aboriginal people.
$9.1m in 2018-19 ($13.8m/4 years)
- Family Violence Implementation Monitor
Continuing the work of the Family Violence Implementation Monitor, overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
$1.4m in 2018-19 ($4.2m/3 years)
- Elder abuse family counselling service
Continuing the trial of specialist clinical advice and family counselling and mediation services across five locations in Victoria. Community awareness events will also be held to increase understanding of elder abuse as a form of family violence.
$2.2m in 2018-19 ($6m/4 years)
Future policy directions
- Combat elder abuse
Investment is needed in a whole-of-government approach to tackling elder abuse, including working with the federal government. Training is needed for frontline staff who work with older people (such as healthcare professionals and financial service workers) to detect and respond to elder abuse. Investment is also needed in services with expertise in elder abuse (such as Seniors Rights Victoria) to advise other service providers and help meet service demand. The creation of a registry for enduring powers of attorney is also required.