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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 March 2015) . . Page.. 703 ..

violence will be eligible for expenses that they incur or require after the crime to promote their recovery, to put safety measures in place and to prevent further harm. Time frames will be explicitly shorter so that assistance comes quickly, not months and months after the crime.

These are practical and sensible measures that the government is taking to make it clear that we stand with those who face violence in the home or from family members. You are not alone and we will do all that we can to make you safe and help you to recover. The reforms to the victims of crime scheme complement numerous services and programs already in place to protect women from domestic and family violence and to provide support to victims of such violence.

The government locally is providing $5½ million in the current financial year towards a range of services, including the Domestic Violence Crisis Service, towards crisis responses to those experiencing domestic and family and sexual violence, and specialised accommodation and outreach services for women who are escaping domestic or family violence. Minister Corbell provided further details of these many important services in his contribution, and the fact is that these programs are making a vital difference in our community every day.

Last week the government announced an additional $300,000 in funding to combat domestic violence, which comes, as we have heard, from the confiscated assets trust and will be used for the development of an ACT domestic violence data framework, women’s safety grants and extra funding for the Domestic Violence Prevention Council to expand and progress its works program. This is another practical expression of what the territory government can do to support those working at the coalface to counter family violence. Recent incidents of such violence only reaffirm the critical nature of responding clearly and unequivocally.

At such a time I only wish to note that the commonwealth’s funding cuts to important services such as the Women’s Legal Centre and the domestic violence crisis translation interpreter services are fundamentally counterproductive. These services provide critical support to women trying to escape domestic violence, so this funding reduction is simply at odds with recent statements by the Prime Minister and the federal cabinet that they consider countering domestic violence a priority. Women from different cultural backgrounds who speak languages other than English at home and who are trapped in troubled or violent marriages will be particularly affected by cuts to interpreter services.

On 28 January this year the Prime Minister announced the formation of a national advisory panel on violence against women. The panel will provide advice to the Council of Australian Governments on violence against women and their children, including domestic and family violence and sexual assault. The panel will focus on practical solutions and three priority areas in 2015. The panel will have nine members from across jurisdictions. The founding chair is former Victorian police commissioner Mr Ken Lay APM, and the founding member is, of course, the Australian of the Year, Ms Rosie Batty.

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