The Queensland Government has announced it will provide an additional $100,000 to help women access free legal help if they are experiencing domestic violence.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the extra funding would expand the Women’s Legal Service helpline services for those Queenslanders affected by domestic and family violence.
“Since the release of the Not Now, Not Ever report by the taskforce chaired by Quentin Bryce, demand for these services has increased significantly,” Mrs D’Ath said.
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“The Women’s Legal Service provides advice, representation and social work support to more than 3,700 Queensland women each year, with 40 per cent of those who access services via telephone being from rural, regional and remote Queensland.
“While many people are being helped, there is always a need to do more.
“We must ensure that victims have a voice, and when they have the courage to ask for help, there are services ready to answer that call.
“This additional funding highlights the Government’s determination to reduce this insidious problem.
“This is just another way the Government is tackling this issue, but it takes a community effort to stand against domestic and family violence.”
Mrs D’Ath said the Government was committed to tackling domestic and family violence, had accepted all 140 recommendations of the Not Now, Not Ever report, and had fast-tracked key measures.
“These measures include increasing penalties for perpetrators who breach domestic violence orders, and giving victims ‘special witness’ status so they do not have to give evidence in the same room as the alleged perpetrator,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“The Palaszczuk Government has also committed funding to establishing two new 72 hour crisis shelters – in Brisbane and Townsville – for women and children escaping violence. A separate trial of a specialist Domestic Violence Court is also under way at Southport.
“The Government has also committed to a raft of initiatives including respectful relationships resources in schools and workplaces; improvements to health, police and justice responses to domestic violence; and more co-ordinated help for victims.”
The State Government had already committed $1.2 million of State and Commonwealth funding to the Women’s Legal Service per annum in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The additional $100,000 will be provided in 2015-16.