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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 1003 ..

In partnership with the ACT Children and Young People Commissioner, the Family Safety Hub listened to young people talk about their experience of domestic and family violence, including their interactions with services that are designed to support them. Insights learnt from these young people have been published in a booklet and video. These insights have been shared with government and community service providers to help bring about the change that is needed. Work will continue in 2021 to further develop responses to these insights.

Since March 2020, the ACT Coordinator General for Family Safety and the Victims of Crime Commissioner have met regularly via roundtable with services in the domestic and family violence services sector. The DFV roundtables worked together in responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on local service delivery. The DFV roundtable also supports better information-sharing and coordination around emerging issues throughout the crisis. At the height of social restrictions a targeted communication campaign was run from May to August 2020. The campaign, which had two phases, advised that services were still open and ready to help those who were experiencing or using violence. This was in addition to the new dedicated COVID-19 website which helped to get the message out to the greater Canberra community that help was still out there and to reassure people that the restrictions did not stop them from asking for help.

As at November 2020, the ACT government had announced several additional investments to support Canberrans during the COVID-19 crisis. These included targeted support for low-income households as part of the ACT’s $137 million stage 1 economic survival package to support local businesses, families and the healthcare and community sectors and $3 million in funding for specialist homelessness and domestic and family violence sectors to expand service capacity, as well as relieve additional pressure arising from COVID-19 so that supports were there for people facing homelessness and domestic violence. There was an additional funding of $7 million for non-government organisation partners to meet increased service demand for emergency relief, as part of the community support package.

The additional funding for specialist homelessness services has already resulted in reduced unmet needs for clients seeking assistance for domestic and family violence, where we have seen a reduction in unmet demand of four per cent between 2018-19 and 2019-20, despite the increase in clients seeking assistance during this time. The ACT government also received funds from the commonwealth government under the National Partnership Domestic and Family Violence Responses for 2019-20 and 2020-21. The majority of funding has been allocated to services and initiatives to address critical needs within front-line services. This overview of some of the work and investments that the ACT government has committed is ensuring that gender equality is progressed and that women and girls in the ACT feel safe.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (5.06): I rise to talk about the veterans elements in this item, and I must say that I do so with a heavy heart and I do so with a different view than I had when we last spoke to a budget in this place. There is a history to this that will explain why the last time that I spoke to the ACT budget I did so supporting the government, with praise for the government and congratulations, and this time I do not do that.

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