More legal support for domestic violence victims
The State Government has committed an additional $353,000 to support the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service.
The service supports victims of domestic violence to navigate the court system, for example, by helping them apply for an intervention order, report a breach of an intervention order or end a tenancy agreement because of domestic violence.
Premier Jay Weatherill and Minister for the Status of Women, Zoe Bettison, are today attending the COAG National Summit on Preventing Violence Against Women and their Children in Brisbane.
The Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service was announced in 2014 as one of a series of measures to help address domestic violence following the South Australian Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Zahra Abrahimzadeh.
It started operating in July 2015 and was also one of the initiatives outlined in the State Government’s Domestic Violence Discussion Paper, released in July this year.
During 2015-16, the service helped 450 women. Based on referrals received during July, this figure is expected to grow significantly.
To cope with this, the budget for the service has doubled from $353,000 in the past financial year to $706,000 in 2016-17.
The extra financing will be drawn from the Victims of Crime fund at the direction of Attorney-General John Rau.
Premier Jay Weatherill said:
Women trying to escape domestic violence need support including legal assistance.
We know that demand for this vital service is continuing to grow, so it’s important we increase our funding and make sure those who need legal help are able to receive it.
The prevalence of violence against women is a national emergency and it requires our resources and policy attention.
Minister for the Status of Women Zoe Bettison said:
This important service will improve the safety of women and children by giving them much needed support to access the legal system, and ensure they are adequately represented.
Legal Officers will advocate on behalf of women who have difficulties applying for an Intervention Order, reporting breach and/or any concerns about their safety and wellbeing.
This service adds another layer to the work being undertaken by our Government to support women whose lives have been disrupted by this crime. It is the vision of this Government to create a community where women live free of violence and this initiative takes us closer.