Community facilities | May 09, 2017

Victims of Family Violence ignored in the Wimmera

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP says domestic violence services announced by the Andrews Government are inadequate and will see family violence victims in Horsham and the Wimmera forced to travel hundreds of kilometres for vital support.

There were 17 Support and Safety Hubs funded in the 2017-18 State Budget. But with just one hub for each DHHS area, the entire western Victoria region – from Brim to Warrnambool – will be serviced from one location.

“Women in rural and regional Victoria are far more likely to be victims of family violence than their city sisters,” Ms Kealy said.

“Daniel Andrews has failed to fund a dedicated Family Violence Support and Safety Hub for the Wimmera, meaning family violence victims will be forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to access support.

“This adds significant pressure to people already in a highly stressful situation,” she said.

Ms Kealy has been a strong advocate for continued change to help stop family violence and has been calling for more local support services to improve access for local women and families.

“It is more than 12 months since Daniel Andrews promised to adopt recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, but in that time family violence crime has skyrocketed,” Ms Kealy said.

“Local wait lists for family violence counselling has blown out to 5 weeks, with 40 women waiting for urgently needed support.

“There are no women’s shelters and limited support services in the Lowan electorate. We need an increase in funding for additional services in regional Victoria so our local women can safely escape from violent relationships and move on with their lives.

“Country women deserve equitable access to support services, not based on population but by distance to these support hubs.

“It’s also disappointing that Daniel Andrews is yet to support the Liberal Nationals’ mandatory sentencing policy that includes minimum jail times of ten years for cowards who repeat violent offences.  There is no stronger message we can send on family violence than this,” she said.

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