On 28 October 2016 the Commonwealth Attorney-General issued a statement regarding the Third Action Plan to Reduce Family Violence.
The Statement reads:
As part of this Government’s commitment to achieving change and ending violence against women and children in Australia, the Attorney-General announced the allocation of $30 million for front-line legal assistance and family law services. This funding is part of the $100 million announced in 2016 for the Third Action Plan under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children.
After extensive consultation with State and Territory governments and sector peak bodies, and giving consideration to the objectives of the Third Action Plan, the Australian Government will deliver:
- $18.5 million for integrated duty lawyer and social support services in family law courts
- $6.2 million to pilot enhanced models of family dispute resolution for vulnerable families
- $5 million for an extra year of the legal assistance pilots under the Women’s Safety Package
- $0.3 million for data analysis in the legal assistance sector.
Strengthening services in the family law courts for families experiencing violence is a key priority under the Third Action Plan. Through this measure, legal aid commissions will work alongside specialist domestic violence services to assist families navigate the complexities of moving between state and federal court systems.
Improving access to legally-assisted family dispute resolution is also critically important, as it allows those experiencing family violence to resolve disputes outside the family law courts and provides a safe and empowering early intervention. This measure will direct additional funding to Family Relationship Centres to deliver legally-assisted and culturally appropriate family dispute resolution to vulnerable families, particularly Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse families.
The Women’s Safety Package legal assistance pilots, announced in September 2015, are showing promising early results. They have delivered services to over 530 women experiencing domestic violence in the first half of 2016. Extending these pilots by a further year will allow the 11 community legal centres and two legal aid commissions conducting the pilots to continue to build these innovative, integrated specialist domestic violence units and health justice partnerships.
The Government is also investing in data analysis across the sector. This will enhance our understanding of domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia and lead to improvements in service response. This $30 million of commitments builds on the $15 million provided under the Women’s Safety Package and is in addition to the $1.6 billion already committed to legal aid commissions, community legal centres and Indigenous legal assistance providers.
The Turnbull Government is committed to addressing the scourge of domestic violence. Today’s announcement is part of the release of the Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Women, and the Minister for Social Services.