Friday, 15 May 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is not the Minister For Women - he is the Minister for Violent Men

Destroy the Joint tally as of 12 May 2015

After cutting $30 million from affordable housing and crisis housing services in late 2014, only extending the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness which helps fund domestic violence refuges for another two years, then calling the rate of violence against women an "epidemic" in March 2015, the self-appointed federal Minister for Women Tony Abbott cannot be surprised at these reactions to his paltry effort in the 2015-16 Budget.

The Sydney Morning Herald 13 May 2015:

A partially-funded awareness campaign was the only domestic violence measure announced in the federal budget, leaving frontline workers aghast at critical funding gaps.

Not one out of nine crucial funding areas identified by family violence experts in a pre-budget report was filled, said Renee Carr, executive director of Fair Agenda, a community organisation that consulted a dozen experts to determine what budget funding was required to address the issue.

The only announcement was a $30 million awareness campaign, to which the federal government offered $16.7 million.

Crisis and counselling hotlines, men's behaviour programs, community legal centres, primary prevention initiatives and services for indigenous or culturally diverse communities were ignored.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Wednesday morning that there would be more announcements in the coming weeks but Ms Carr said Tuesday night was a chance for the government to put domestic violence front and centre after recognising that it had become a national epidemic.

"Last night was a test of the government's commitment to dealing with Australia's domestic violence crisis, and it's a test they failed," she said.

"Instead, we heard no new announcements of funding to tackle this issue."

In 2013-4, 423 people were turned away from homelessness agencies every night, many of them women escaping violence. In the same year, 150,000 people were turned away from receiving legal help through community legal centres, Fair Agenda's report said. 

Last year, 18,631 phone calls to the national hotline 1800RESPECT went unanswered. Domestic and Family Violence Crisis Lines Australia also expects demand to grow 40 per cent in the next year.

Karen Willis, executive officer of Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia, which administers 1800RESPECT, said they required an extra $2 million to ensure one in four calls don't go unanswered.....

Analysis of the budget announcement shows (as at 14 May 2015):

* 1800 RESPECT – received no additional funding in the budget
* Community legal centres – had no additional funding provided in the budget; and with cuts in the funding model in some jurisdictions, and cuts made in the forward estimates (from mid 2017), NACLC expect turn aways from Community Legal Centres will get worse.
* Family Violence Prevention Legal Services – received no additional funding in the budget
* Homelessness – received the previously announced $230 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. This doesn't include indexation which means a real cut to services of $12.58 million (over the current year and two years of extension). Services can't meet the increasing demand without sufficient and fair increases, so we can expect more women will be turned away unless this is rectified.
* Men’s behavior change programs – received no new funding
* Primary prevention – no additional investment in strategies for primary prevention. Unless that becomes the focus of the still to be defined national awareness campaign. Regardless, investment is still vastly inadequate.
* Family & relationship services – it’s unclear if any additional funding has been provided for these services.
*Services for culturally and linguistically diverse communities – it’s unclear if any additional funding has been provided.

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