'Women’s Budget' welcomed but regional and remote women must be at forefront
Western NSW Community Legal Centre and Western Women’s Legal Support welcome the announcement of $1.1 billion in Commonwealth Funding for women’s safety measures made in last night’s 2021-2022 Federal Budget, especially $164.8 million for immediate financial assistance to women leaving violence.
Tragically, many women are forced to stay in violent or abusive relationships because they do not have the financial means to support themselves or their children. WNSWCLC solicitor Hannah Robinson explains: “Our clients frequently report having to make the heartbreaking decision between staying in an abusive home with a roof over their head and leaving the abusive relationship only to find themselves homeless. The provision of immediate financial assistance, including cash payments of $1,500, will provide invaluable assistance to women seeking to escape abuse.”
However, the Budget provides no specific, targeted funding for women in regional, rural and remote communities and fails to adequately address the domestic violence housing crisis, with only $12.6 million allocated Australia-wide for emergency accommodation.
Women in regional, rural and remote Australia are 24 times more likely to be hospitalised for family and domestic violence than women in major cities. Their experiences of physical and non-physical abuse are compounded by geographic isolation and they face increased difficulties in accessing legal, housing and counselling support. However, despite the prevalence and catastrophic impact of family and domestic abuse on women in regional areas, their plight went largely unacknowledged in the Budget.
Additional funding is also urgently needed for emergency and transitional housing in regional areas, with demand for emergency domestic violence accommodation in Dubbo exceeding the supply 10 to one.
Media contact: Hannah Robinson on 02 6884 9422 or firstname.lastname@example.org