A Canberra legal centre that helps women affected by domestic violence has plans to extend its reach across Canberra, after funding from the recent federal budget.
The Women's Legal Centre ACT is in line to receive a portion of a $129 million investment the federal government has promised for legal assistance funding to help women access justice.
But the centre will now wait to see what investment will be put forward by the ACT government in the upcoming August budget.
Women's Legal Centre ACT chief executive Elena Rosenman said the centre will be able to significantly expand its services due to the federal government funding.
"This is a historic investment in specialist women's legal services across Australia," Ms Rosenman said.
"Here in the ACT, it will allow the Women's Legal Centre to expand our services and support more women affected by domestic and family violence to separate in a way that is safe and fair."
The funding comes at a time when the centre was tightening its purse strings. Centres across the country called for extra funding.
"Prior to this federal announcement we were facing significant funding shortfalls and were in the process of closing services," Ms Rosenman said.
"[But] this funding allows us to do more than survive, it allows us to thrive."
The centre will use the funding to expand its reach beyond its Civic office and will partner with existing services that women already use.
"We want to close gaps and make the most of the windows of opportunity when women do reach out," Ms Rosenman said.
"We know that only a certain proportion of women will come through the door of our offices in Civic so we want to work with partner organisations so there can be a direct route to specialist legal assistance in a range of services that women already trust and use.
"This includes services who are outside the CBD."
The centre will keenly watch the coming ACT budget, as the territory's potential investment could allow for an even more significant expansion.
Ms Rosenman would look to see whether the ACT government will make its health justice partnership program permanent.
Under the health justice partnership pilot, lawyers from the Women's Legal Centre and Legal Aid ACT were embedded into healthcare teams at Calvary, the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children and the Gungahlin Child and Family Centre.
"Through those partnerships, we are able to reach more people in the earlier stages of the violence," Ms Rosenman said.
"It's been a very very successful project and we're very committed to the model."
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