Recent tragic deaths in our community serve as a stark reminder of the seriousness and impact of domestic violence. The ACT Government is determined to support our hard-working service providers, police and emergency services, community organisations and schools to help end this scourge of violence, and aid those experiencing such violence.
In 2015-16, the Government will:
- Expand the capacity of three key domestic and sexual violence crisis services. The Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and the Canberra Men's Centre will share in $250,000 in additional funding to assist with the current spike in demand for crisis assistance.
- Support ACT public schools to provide social and emotional learning programs to help kids learn early on in their lives about the importance of respectful relationships, and give them easy and accessible ways to get support, by dedicating $615,000 in funding.
- Establish an ACT domestic violence data framework, fund women's safety grants and support the Domestic Violence Prevention Council with $300,000 from the Confiscated Assets Trust Fund announced in March.
- Contribute to the national campaign to raise awareness about violence against women and their children.
Additional funding is one part of wider reforms
The ACT is the leading jurisdiction in Australia in its proactive and coordinated approach to violence against women and children. During 2015 the Government will bring forward reforms beyond Budget initiatives, including:
- Allowing prosecutors to use family violence victims' first statements to police as evidence at trial.
- Making certain that interim domestic violence orders can remain in place until criminal changes are finalised.
- Better recognising the harm that results when a person strangles their partner.
- Reforming the victims of crime assistance scheme to make it easier and faster to get financial help and counselling services.
The Government will establish a Coordinator-General for Domestic and Family Violence in the ACT which will oversee strategic efforts in this area and drive the Second Implementation Plan for the ACT Prevention of Violence against Women and Children Strategy 2011-2017.
We will also work with stakeholders to implement recommendations from the Australian and New South Wales Law Reform Commissions Report: Family Violence – A National Legal Response.