DV Vic and DVRCV welcome the Victorian Government’s continued investment into family violence reforms announced in today’s state budget. In particular, we are heartened by the government’s clear commitment to putting housing at the centre of Victoria’s response to family violence, with the big housing build of nearly $5.3 billion, ensuring the availability of long-term social and affordable housing that will support families to recover from family violence. This significant investment is supported by extended funding for emergency accommodation options, and $18.2 million across two years to support case management in core and cluster refuges.
We are also pleased to see continued funding for flexible support packages of $87.3 million over four years.
While we welcome the announcement of further funding for the implementation of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) framework and information sharing schemes, we know this will need to continue beyond the 12 months committed to today.
We look forward to working with government and our members to define specialist family violence service program requirements, to make sure implementation funding extends past 2021-22.
DV Vic and DVRCV also welcome the $8.2 million investment into building the family violence and sexual assault support workforces. However, we note that this is only a fraction of what is needed to grow and also retain the specialist workforce for an exhausted sector that continues providing services to victim survivors through the pandemic and beyond.
We look forward to engaging with the Victorian Government to ensure that additional funding for specialist family violence service delivery in the next budget, in order to respond to unrelenting and increasing demand, as well as to safeguard the health and wellbeing of this unique and specialist workforce.
We also welcome the government’s commitment to perpetrator accountability for family violence, with the promised investment of $10.7 million over four years.
We are pleased to see a focus on women’s employment and note women’s inclusion as a key group in the government’s economic recovery plans. Employment for women and all victim survivors escaping family violence is a critical element in their survival and recovery.
The Victorian Government continues to demonstrate leadership by investing in primary prevention. In particular, we welcome the further commitment of $37.5 million over four years to continue to deliver the Respectful Relationships initiative in Victorian schools, as well as $9.7 million over four years focused on preventing and responding earlier to family violence in multicultural and faith-based communities. However, we are disappointed that more funding hasn’t been committed in this budget to prevention initiatives and the development of the prevention workforce. We know that the only way to stem the flow of family violence is to stop it from happening in the first place. Victoria is a world leader in this space and DV Vic and DVRCV look forward to working with the government to ensure this continues by providing additional funding in 2021/22.
Finally, we welcome extended funding of $1.6m for the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor for the next two years. It is critical this role continues until the reforms have been fully implemented and the coordinated family violence system is operating as envisioned by the Royal Commission.