Abbott Government delivers funding boost for 1800RESPECT
The Abbott Government’s ongoing commitment to addressing the scourge of domestic violence in Australia has been reinforced today with an extra $4 million investment in the 1800RESPECT hotline to ensure it provides support to women in need.
Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash said the Abbott Government was committed to providing the funding necessary to ensure the efficient delivery of 1800RESPECT – Australia’s first national professional telephone and online counselling service.
“The service was facing increased demand and the Government is responding to ensure we are able to assist those women who need it,” Minister Morrison said.
“This additional investment reflects the fact that keeping women and children safe from violence is a national priority for the Coalition Government.”
“It builds on our previous and ongoing financial contributions to both this service and our suite of policies which aim to address the insidious issue of domestic violence in Australia.”
1800RESPECT is a confidential and interactive online and professional telephone counselling, information and referral service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service assists those who have experienced or are at risk of sexual assault or family and domestic violence.
In 2013-14 over 43,600 contacts were made to 1800RESPECT compared with about 20,000 in 2010-11. In 2014-15, about 35,000 contacts have been recorded to March 2015.
Minister Cash said that over the past 18 months, assisted by courageous ambassadors such as Rosie Batty – as well as increased coverage in the media – a national conversation about domestic and family violence has grown with increasing momentum.
“With more victims speaking out about this scourge and seeking help to escape such violence, we are responding accordingly with appropriate resourcing,” Minister Cash said.
“For too many years the issue of domestic violence remained behind closed doors – a stigmatised problem that victims were afraid or reluctant to speak about. Sadly as a nation we were reluctant to speak about it.
“Since the day this government took office we have been working hard to address this issue. There is much work to do and we are committed to ensuring that we stop the violence before it happens – until we achieve this we will not rest.”
On Thursday the Government announced the full membership of the COAG Advisory Panel to Reduce Violence Against Women. This panel will play an integral role in providing expert advice to COAG on how Governments can address domestic violence in Australia.
“As the Treasurer stated, we have set aside additional money in the budget and we will have more to say in the near future,” Minister Cash said.
“I will also be working closely with expert members of the Advisory Panel to identify practical policies and solutions that the Federal Government can directly implement to ensure women and children in Australia are kept free from violence.”
“The Abbott Government believes it is fundamental that women and their families are safe from violence in their homes and communities and we remain absolutely committed to ensuring we reduce and ultimately end domestic violence.”
The Government’s investments to address the scourge of domestic violence include:
$100 million over four years to support the Second Action Plan under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children as well as the recently announced $30 million national awareness campaign.
An over $500 million investment in 2015-16 to frontline services, which provide support to vulnerable Australians including women experiencing violence. This includes $230 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness for two years to 2017, with funding priority given to frontline services focusing on women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, and homeless youth under 18.
Restoration of $25.5 million in funding for Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres and Indigenous legal service providers, aimed to support victims of domestic violence.
$6 million towards the Northern Territory’s $18 million Domestic and Family Violence Reduction Strategy.
An increase in funding to the White Ribbon campaign by $1 million over four years.
Victims of domestic and family violence and / or sexual assault, as well as their family and friends can contact 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au
Further details of the National Plan can be found at www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/women/programs-services/reducing-violence/the-national-plan-to-reduce-violence-against-women-and-their-children-2010-2022