One in four women experiences violence by a current or former partner. In NSW there are around 2,500 reports of domestic violence to the police every month – but this likely represents only 40% of actual crime levels due to underreporting. The COVID-19 lockdowns led to a significant increase in demand for services, and the complexity of clients attending.
Domestic and family violence is a key driver of homelessness and is the primary reason for a third of people seeking assistance from specialist homelessness services.
What's in the 2021-22 Budget
- $90 million in additional state funding for domestic and family violence services, including:
- $60 million over 2 years for frontline domestic and family violence services (in addition to $80 million over 2 years from the federal government as part of the new national partnership agreement).
- $32.5 million over 4 years to expand the Staying Home Leaving Violence program.
- $5.5 million in capital expenditure for domestic violence saferooms in up to 44 courts in priority locations and to enhance JUSTConnect, enabling domestic violence complainants to give evidence from their own device.
- $4.9 million to St Vincent de Paul to provide crisis accommodation for women and children in 2 locations in Sydney.
What does it mean for those doing it tough?
Although this funding does not meet the level of need, frontline services will be more adequately resourced to support the growing numbers of victim-survivors seeking assistance. The expansion of Staying Home Leaving Violence across NSW from 33 sites will also enable more women and their children to access this service where they live, and safely remain in their homes.
What is needed?
This budget provides a critical boost in funding for frontline domestic and family violence services and the Staying Home Leaving Violence program. It is positive to see the NSW Government listen to the sector’s concerns about increased demand since the start of COVID-19. NCOSS hopes to see this funding continue beyond the next 2 years.
However, while investing in crisis support is crucial, this budget continues a long line of missed opportunities to start seriously investing in primary prevention and early intervention initiatives.
There was also no new funding for social housing, despite domestic and family violence being a key driver of homelessness. The sector continues to call for 5,000 new homes to be built each year for the next 10 years to address the serious lack of housing supply.
Budget responses from the sector:
- NSW Women’s Alliance Nine-Point Plan to Address Sexual Violence
- NCOSS 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission
- DVNSW 2021-22 Pre-Budget Priorities
- A Wave of Disadvantage Across NSW: Impact of the COVID-19 recession