Federal Government fail to fund successful program to keep women safe

Federal Families and Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher confirmed in Parliament this week that the Federal Government will cease funding a successful program for women at risk of family and domestic violence in Western Australia.

The Commonwealth had provided funding of $1.47 million for the successful Keeping Women Safe in their Home program, which supported more than 700 women and their families last year.

Funding to Western Australian services ceases on October 31, and the Federal Minister advised Parliament on Monday (October 22) that he now expected the State Government to provide further funding.

The funding cut affects six services across WA metropolitan and regional areas.

The Keeping Women Safe in their Home program provides specialist workers and safety planning that includes security assessments and upgrades to homes, such as changing locks or installing surveillance cameras and panic buttons in high-risk circumstances.

The State Government has committed emergency funding to organisations to ensure services are not stopped, however, this is money that could be used to fund other domestic violence prevention measures.

Premier Mark McGowan previously wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to seek ongoing funding for key initiatives, including funding for the Keeping Women Safe in their Home program, which will help reduce the unacceptable levels of family and domestic violence in WA.

The initiatives outlined in the letter to the Prime Minister will strengthen the suite of measures the State Government delivers to support Western Australians impacted by family and domestic violence.

The McGowan Government has committed more than $20 million of new funding as part of a comprehensive policy package to address family and domestic violence.

“The McGowan Government is working hard to address the unacceptable level of family and domestic violence in this State and has invested an additional $20 million,” said Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk.

“The Prime Minister recently offered Western Australia his support in addressing this problem and we asked him to continue funding this vital program.

“Without even the courtesy of a response, it seems Minister Fletcher has announced that this funding is not forthcoming.

“It doesn’t make sense to stop funding to a program we know is delivering real outcomes for women and children when they need it most.”