Andrews’ Government investing where it matters

2 May 2017

Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand highly commends the Andrews’ Government for putting women and children at the centre of this year’s Victorian state budget. It has made a landmark investment to implement the recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Gender Equality Strategy.

“The Andrews’ Government has listened to the voices of women impacted by family violence,” said Ms Tanya Corrie, Acting Head of Good Shepherd’s Women’s Research, Advocacy and Policy Centre.

“The government’s investment in family violence prevention and intervention includes continued funding for specialist financial counselling for family violence survivors.

“As well as the physical and psychological damage it causes, the financial impacts of family violence on the lives of women and children can be devastating and continue long after they have escaped the violence. It’s heartening that this message has been received and that the funding commitments for family violence include specific initiatives to enable greater financial security for women.

“Continued funding for specialist financial counselling is a step in the right direction in recognising the link between family violence and financial insecurity. In addition, the government has committed to build women’s financial security through financial literacy and education programs as part of its investment in implementing the Gender Equality Strategy.

“Investing in women’s financial security, particularly those who are most vulnerable, is essential to ensuring their equal participation in our communities so they can live safe, full lives.”

Ms Corrie added that the investment for accommodation for women and children experiencing family violence, including an investment in long-term housing, would also address women’s financial security.

“Family violence is the lead cause of homelessness for women and children, with the demand for crisis accommodation far outweighing supply. We are pleased and relieved to see the government has committed to increasing family violence refuges and housing services.

“Women and children’s safety is often most at risk when they try to leave, with threats and violence escalating. It is vital that they have access to safe housing and a range of support services. This will mean fewer women and children who are in need of housing are turned away.”

Ms Corrie added, “Another emerging issue we need to address in Victoria is forced marriage. Women and girls at risk of forced marriage are falling through the gaps in our current system. The increased investment in family violence will hopefully give us the opportunity to develop and trial better services for women and girls who are at risk of forced marriage, or who are already married under these circumstances.

“The Andrews' Government has addressed many of the hardships faced by the women and children who come to Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand for support. This budget demonstrates that the government understands the complexity of family violence and that a whole-of-government response is necessary to break cycles of disadvantage for women and children.”