Extra Government Funding to Support Survivors during COVID-19
The Victorian Government has announced a $40.2 million funding package to provide crisis accommodation and support to those experiencing or at risk of family violence during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Recognising that victim survivors may not be able to safely self-isolate or recover from coronavirus in their homes, nearly half of that package will go towards providing women and children escaping violence with access to short-term crisis accommodation.
The remaining funds will be used to build the capacity of specialist family violence and sexual assault services, including aboriginal community-controlled organisations, to meet the anticipated spike in demand for support.
Although official sources have not yet recorded a spike in Victoria, reports from overseas suggest we will see a surge in family violence incidents as a result of this public health crisis and associated lockdown measures.
Similarly, research into disasters locally and overseas shows there is a greater incidence of family violence in times of crisis, such as a pandemic.
“This funding is an important recognition of the additional family violence risks that emerge during a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, that will result in increased requests for support from specialist family violence services,” said CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria Alison Macdonald.
As part of this funding package, specialist support services will also be supplied with new technology and protective equipment to help them adapt to working in the COVID-19 context and deliver support to victim survivors in new ways.
“Specialist family violence services will be able to respond to more people, more quickly, and with more flexibility as a result of the funding. That is exactly what is needed to respond to family violence during these pandemic conditions,” added Ms. Macdonald.
The funding announcement sends out a powerful message to victim survivors across Victoria.
In the words of the Gabrielle Williams MP, “we want the message to be loud and clear.”
“The service system is still operating, services are still available to those who need them and if you need help it is there for you.”
You can find Gabrielle Williams MP’s full media release here.
If you are experiencing violence and need to access confidential crisis support, information or accommodation please call the safe steps 24/7 family violence response line on 1800 015 188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In an emergency call 000.