Comprehensive package to support WA family violence response

Comprehensive package to support WA family violence response

The McGowan Labor Government has unveiled a comprehensive $28.1 million support package for victims of family and domestic violence, as part of the WA Recovery Plan.

The package will go towards employing additional outreach workers to provide vital wrap-around support to hundreds of Western Australians and significantly strengthen responses after police call-outs.

Premier Mark McGowan and Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk announced the significant new investment today during a tour of the Government’s Peel therapeutic refuge, which is a Western Australian first and on track to be completed by the end of this year.

The $28.1 million support package includes a new $8.6 million of funding for an extra 23 outreach workers in refuges across Perth and regional areas, to provide support to women and children experiencing or at further risk of family and domestic violence.

Almost $6.7 million will bolster the State’s family and domestic violence response teams, through a partnership between the Department of Communities, the WA Police Force and the community services sector. An additional 17 community sector team members will work across Perth and regional areas to support victims of family and domestic violence after a police call-out.

A further $4 million will enable the expansion of the two women’s refuges being built by the State Government in Peel and Kwinana.

Other initiatives in the package include:

  • $123,000 for a program to support women who are residing at family and domestic violence refuges to gain employment skills, access career training or retraining and attend a range of workshops and short courses to support their pathways to employment;
  • $2.6 million to extend the Kimberley Family Violence Service trial by two years; and
  • $1.1 million over two years for counselling, advocacy and support services.

The new investments are on top of a $3.1 million Commonwealth spend on family and domestic violence measures, including the Safe at Home program, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and $1.9 million extension of the Women’s Safety Package.

These increased supports have been targeted to help keep our most vulnerable community members safe and address the State’s immediate social challenges following COVID-19.

They are also guided by the McGowan Government’s new strategy to prevent family and domestic violence across Western Australia, which was launched today.

‘Path to Safety: Western Australia’s Strategy to Reduce Family and Domestic Violence 2020 – 2030’ provides a long-term vision for a Western Australia where all people live free from family and domestic violence.

It sets out a clear whole-of-government and community plan for reducing and responding to family and domestic violence over the next decade.

Construction is currently underway on the Peel and Kwinana refuges, which had an original combined construction cost of about $5 million.

The additional $4 million investment in these refuges, as part of the State Government’s social recovery plan, will enable an additional six accommodation units to be built at each of the two sites.

In Peel, the State’s first therapeutic refuge will deliver co-ordinated services to support women with complex needs escaping family and domestic violence to get their lives back on track.

The therapeutic model manages each family and domestic violence survivor’s needs as a whole, providing tailored services for those who may have mental health concerns and/or harm from alcohol and other drugs, as well as supporting them to live free from violence.

Other services offered at the Peel refuge will include arranging appropriate care for women with complex health issues and supporting women whose children have been taken into care.

The new refuges are expected to commence operations before the end of 2020.

To view ‘Path to Safety: Western Australia’s Strategy to Reduce Family and Domestic Violence 2020 – 2030’, click here.

“No matter what is going on in the world, violence is never acceptable,” said Premier Mark McGowan.

“With many families under pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this comprehensive package will help address family and domestic violence.

“Responding to family and domestic violence in the community is an important part of WA’s social recovery from this challenging period.

“That is why we have invested $28.1 million towards a range of family and domestic violence support services.

“These funds will ensure that people experiencing family and domestic violence can get the help they need, when they need it, as our State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk said, “Family and domestic violence has had devastating impacts on the health and wellbeing of families throughout the WA community.

“The McGowan Government recognises the need to build increased support for those experiencing family and domestic violence into our plan for recovery.

“This comprehensive package represents a substantial commitment to keeping women and children safe – in their own homes and out in the community.

“Significantly, the rollout of these services and initiatives will be guided by Path to Safety: Western Australia’s Strategy to Reduce Family and Domestic Violence 2020 – 2030.

“This strategy, accompanied by $76 million in additional investment, means Western Australians can be confident that their Government is committed to addressing this insidious and pervasive scourge that harms so many lives.”