Coalition to unveil details of $100m domestic violence package
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Coalition to unveil details of $100m domestic violence package

The Turnbull government will release further details of a $100 million domestic violence package in Brisbane on Friday.

About $30 million in funding for front-line legal assistance and family law services will be detailed at a Council of Australian Governments national summit to reduce violence against women and children.

The money will include $18.5 million for duty lawyers and social support services in family law courts; $6.2 million for a pilot program of enhanced family dispute resolution for vulnerable families; $5 million for an extra year of legal assistance pilots under the Women's Safety Package; and $300,000 for data analysis in the legal assistance sector.

But ahead of the summit, Labor pointed out the Abbott-Turnbull governments had cut a combined $52 million from community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and legal aid services.

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There will be about $30 million in funding for front-line legal assistance and family law services.

There will be about $30 million in funding for front-line legal assistance and family law services.

In particular, the opposition highlighted that the government had cut $35 million alone from community legal centres, which see the bulk of domestic violence victims, and the centres are facing a further 30 per cent funding cut from July next year.

The funding will be extended through to 2019 for 12 specialist domestic violence units and five health justice partnerships, with the aim being to allow community legal centres and legal aid commissions to build up specialist domestic violence units.

Attorney-General George Brandis said the extra funding was "critically important, because it allows those experiencing family violence to resolve disputes outside the family law courts and provides a safe and empowering early intervention".

"The Women's Safety Package legal assistance pilots, announced in September 2015, are showing promising early results," he said. "They have delivered services to over 530 women experiencing domestic violence in the first half of 2016.

Attorney-General George Brandis says the extra funding is "critically important''.

Attorney-General George Brandis says the extra funding is "critically important''.Credit:Andrew Meares

"Extending these pilots by a further year will allow the 11 community legal centres and two legal aid commissions conducting the pilots to continue to build these innovative, integrated specialist domestic violence units and health justice partnerships."

Meanwhile, domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, a former Australian of the Year, has again called for the states and territories to end the cross-examination of victims by alleged abusers in court.

Critical funding for legal assistance: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Critical funding for legal assistance: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.Credit:Andrew Meares

"The cross-examination issue is urgent and easily fixed," she said. "Women are being traumatised in the system right now and this is leading to adverse outcomes for children as well.

"There are still many issues with the family law system that put women and children in danger. But recently it's become clear to me that this problem in particular is so urgent that we need to get focused.

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"The COAG summit is the perfect time to raise awareness of this issue. People are shocked to hear this [cross-examination] is still going on."

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James Massola is south-east Asia correspondent, based in Jakarta. He was previously chief political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in Canberra. He has been a Walkley and Quills finalist on three occasions.

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