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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4844 ..


As a result of the pilot, people who are accessing the health services at either of the hospitals or using the services of the Gungahlin Child and Family Centre will now have access to free, confidential legal services, which we envisage will make it easier for those who may feel that their movements or interactions are being restricted already because of their personal situation. We know that some women may be afraid or unable to access services because they may not want a police or legal response or are just not able to physically get to a service. This legal advice will help them to decide what options they may have according to their personal circumstances.

MS CODY: Minister, are there other similar services that are designed specifically for women who are experiencing violence in the ACT?

MS BERRY: I thank Ms Cody for the supplementary. There are other critical services in the ACT that provide legal support and advice for women who are experiencing violence, but they are not quite like this one. The concept of a health-justice partnership is not entirely new, and similar models have already been working very successfully in other jurisdictions. This provides us with an existing evidence base and an opportunity for support and engagement as our pilot progresses.

What is important for this pilot is that it is located at the source of the health service; so for those women or families who are looking for some advice but, perhaps due to their own circumstances would not be able to travel to a legal service, this service provides another available option from a trusted source.

In terms of other local services, the women's legal service domestic violence unit is a service that is primarily funded by the commonwealth government through the women's safety package which was announced in 2015. This unit provides women experiencing domestic and family violence with legal representation and holistic wraparound support, including post-crisis support to women to establish and formalise appropriate care arrangements, which limits exposure to the risk of re-victimisation from an ex-partner, as well as obtaining a just and equitable property settlement.

I am cautiously heartened that the federal minister last week announced a continuation of this funding for another period, to 2020. But states and territories are still anxiously awaiting some real new funding for domestic and family violence. This is not an isolated issue that states and territories alone can solve. It is expensive, it is hard and it must be sustained with federal funding.

We eagerly await an announcement of what additional funding the commonwealth will commit to the delivery of the fourth action plan, which is due to roll out in 2019.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what are the next steps for the remainder of this family safety hub challenge?

MS BERRY: In terms of this particular pilot, we will always look for ways we can build future capability in our hospitals and child and family centres to make sure that we are supporting women and families at risk, and that we make support occur earlier. Indicators of the pilot's success will include service usage, referrals and the type of


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