Women and children thriving, free from violence Analysis

Women and children thriving, free from violence

Significant initiatives

  • Responding to community-based healthcare demand
    $78.3m in 2021-22 ($96.5m/4 yrs)
    Funding is provided to 12 women’s health services to meet growing demand for gender responsive healthcare, including prevention of family violence support services, women’s mental health and sexual and reproductive health services.

    Three new women’s sexual and reproductive health hubs will be established and the operating hours and scope of services at the eight existing hubs will be expanded. This initiative also supports community-based healthcare including catch-up care for dental services, cancer services, and maternal child health services to ensure clients who were unable to engage over the past 12 months receive the care they need.

    Increase in demand for alcohol and other drugs programs will be met by three new residential AOD treatment facilities, additional community-based counselling services and expanded forensic services.

  • Support for victim survivors of family violence and sexual assault
    $21.9m in 2021-22 ($49m/4 yrs)
    Funding is provided to continue case management responses for victim survivors of family violence in emergency accommodation and for victim survivors of sexual assault, to extend family violence supports and services including sexual assault services, for state-wide 24/7 crisis services, flexible support packages, culturally safe responses for Aboriginal survivors, and case management and brokerage for women on temporary visas.
  • Improving outcomes for women in Victoria: strengthening Victoria’s economic recovery through women’s participation
    $2.1m in 2021-22 ($4.2m/2 yrs)
    Funding is provided to establish a Gender Responsive Budgeting Unit within the Department of Treasury and Finance, working closely with the Office for Women to ensure outcomes for women are measured and considered as part of budget decision-making processes. This will embed gender impact analysis and understanding in the allocation of resources. The initiative will also deliver targeted economic security programs to support migrant and refugee women into employment.
  • Specialist family violence integrated court response
    $10.1m in 2021-22 ($42.6m/4 yrs)
    Funding is provided to establish specialist family violence courts at the remaining Magistrates’ Courts, further acquitting the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
  • Perpetrator accountability
    $12.8m in 2021-22 ($18.1m / 4 yrs)
    Funding has been allocated to enable family violence specialists to deliver perpetrator interventions and contribute to an increasing evidence base about what works to change behaviour and prevent violence, including delivering Men’s Behaviour Change programs.
  • Responses for children and young people impacted by family violence and sexual assault
    $14.1m in 2021-22 ($44.1m / 4 yrs)
    Funding is provided to continue the statewide expansion of services to adolescents who use violence in the home, extend sexually abusive behaviour treatment services and provide sexual assault support services targeted to children and young people.

Analysis

The 2021-22 Budget invests $354 million to support victim survivors and address family violence. Funding will continue support for the operation of the Central Information Point, and support Phase 2 organisations to meet their obligations under the MARAM framework and Child and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes. Funding has also been allocated to enable family violence specialists to deliver perpetrator interventions and Men’s Behaviour Change programs, which will contribute to an increasing evidence base about what works to change behaviour and prevent violence.

VCOSS is particularly pleased to see the establishment of a Gender Responsive Budgeting Unit within the Department of Treasury and Finance. This unit will help overcome the inequalities experienced by women by further embracing gender impact assessments, gender budgeting and gender auditing.

VCOSS welcomes the commitment to build three additional sexual and reproductive health hubs and the commitment to provide additional support for Victoria’s 12 women’s health services. We know that COVID had a disproportionate impact on women’s mental and physical health, as well as sexual and reproductive health, and these commitments will help ensure more women can access the tailored, gendered health information they need to effectively navigate Victoria’s health system.

While this Budget does provide some investment in the prevention of family violence, including $44 million to develop tools and resources to address the drivers of sexual violence in young people and the delivery of youth-focused programs that promote healthy relationships and community understanding of family violence, we know that more funding is needed if we are to stop violence before it starts.

Respect Victoria has identified that currently only 3 per cent of the family violence budget is spent on primary prevention. Victoria must commit to boost overall spending on family violence prevention to at least 10 per cent of the family violence budget to help change behaviour within families and the community so that we can all live free from violence.

Increased funding for the specialist family violence sector is also needed to meet rising levels of demand and ensure that services can cover higher operational costs, retain experienced staff and pay workers at a classification/level commensurate with their qualifications, knowledge and skills.