Page 733 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 17 March 2015

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As Minister for Women in the ACT, I am committed to raising awareness about violence against women and to alleviating the pressures on domestic violence services available to those affected in our community. The ACT government strongly believes in the rights of everyone in our community to be free from violence in all its forms.

So how do we as a government move forward to address the pressures on domestic violence services? We do need to continue to work collaboratively to address the causes of violence and abuse against women, because the consequences are far-reaching and it is an issue that affects our entire community. Supporting domestic violence services is a priority for the government. We continue to move forward to support new initiatives that address community attitudes and support women and children dealing with domestic violence.

This includes $150,000 in funding for the ACT women’s grants program, including funding for the Audrey Fagan violence prevention grant. We acknowledge that the women’s information offices at the child and family centres are now better equipped to provide information and refer women to support services in our community. This has occurred through the re-engineering of the services to be more accessible and more responsive than previously centrally located shopfronts.

We continue to provide the ACT women’s return-to-work grant funding to support women, including those experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, to return to the workforce. Empowering women to gain confidence and financial independence is the main part of this program. We move forward by not hiding the horrors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Rather, we stand united in supporting our domestic violence prevention services and applaud the workers for their tireless efforts and recognise their significant expertise.

The ACT government’s work to address domestic violence consists of several complementing strategies and initiatives to alleviate the pressures on domestic violence prevention services, some of which have been mentioned here today. We are united in the prevention of domestic violence and providing appropriate services so that no door is unopened, no telephone is unanswered, nor any individual unavailable. The ACT government continues its efforts in the prevention of domestic violence in our community.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, could you tell us more about what the ACT government is doing to support women experiencing domestic violence?

MS BERRY: The ACT government provided over $5.5 million in 2014-15 towards crisis responses for those experiencing domestic and family and sexual violence, and for specialised accommodation and outreach services for women who are escaping domestic or family violence. The ACT government is united to continue to work towards the prevention of violence against women and children in our community.

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