State Budget 2019/20

Right Focus on Perpetrator Accountability in this Year’s State Budget

Every Australian will be acutely aware of the terrible impact that family violence and violence against women more broadly has on our community with the continuing news cycle focus on women murdered at the hands of men. Back in 2016 the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommended building the evidence for perpetrator programs and we’re very pleased to see today’s $85million investment into perpetrator case management and men’s behaviour change programs. “This new money that will go towards perpetrator accountability sends an important message to the Victorian community that the onus of change is on men who choose to use violence against their partners, children and other family members and not women and other victim survivors” Domestic Violence Victoria Interim CEO Sandie de Wolf said today.

We welcome additional funding that has been allocated to workforce development and in particular to building the capacity of family violence services to improve access and inclusion of marginalised groups including LGBTIQ people and women with disabilities who experience very high levels of family violence and significant barriers to seeking support.

Through the Royal Commission reforms, there is a significant program underway to redevelop refuges into fit-for-purpose properties that afford their clients privacy, dignity and the space to recover from violence. There is $23.9 million over four years towards family violence refuge and crisis response which we understand includes money to help those providers to match their operations to the improved physical form.

This budget includes several measures for addressing family violence in Aboriginal communities which is also very welcome. “The Dhelk Dja Aboriginal 10-year Agreement is a seminal partnership between Victoria’s Aboriginal communities and the Victorian Government that centres on self-determination – we’re pleased to see the $28.7 million towards its implementation” Sandie de Wolf said.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence and subsequent investment by the Victorian Government into meeting its recommendations, has enabled many of the significant reforms the Royal Commission recommended to get underway. It’s important to remember however that this is long term work, that it will take time and require sustained effort and further investment in the future, in particular towards primary prevention measures the aim to change the social conditions that allow violence against women to flourish.

“The tragic events of this weekend with the terrible murder of Courtney Herron, remind us that we can’t take our foot off the pedal. The community expects that there will be a coordinated effort to prevent violence against women until deaths like Courtney’s are a thing of the past”.