Page 3344 - Week 09 - Thursday, 24 August 2017

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concerning oversight, particularly because we know that women and their children are, in Canberra, resorting to sleeping in their cars because emergency accommodation cannot be found. I cannot understand why dedicated and specialist women’s accommodation services, designed to accommodate women and their children escaping violence, with decades of experience—experience of the services, not the women, I hope—are not receiving increased funding in line with the increased demand that they are dealing with.

The safer families grants program, which provides financial assistance to women fleeing violence, is a welcome initiative. I note that recently the new assistance beyond crisis facility, to be administered by the Care financial services groups, has been established in partnership with philanthropic groups such as the Snow Foundation and Capital Giving.

The therapeutic residential behaviour change program for men, room4change, is an innovative approach which I hope results in the reduction of violent behaviour by men. I would be very keen to see future evaluation of this innovative initiative.

I am also pleased to see the dedicated case analysis team in children and youth protection services and hope that this will bring forward specific expertise and specific responses for children living in families where there is violence. All too often the victim of violence is made responsible for ensuring the safety of children. I hope that this new case analysis team will not only inform training procedures and the development of new policies and procedures, but prioritise the safety of children by providing, or referring to, appropriate supports for the non-offending parent, to reduce the likelihood of the removal of children.

I am equally pleased to see that the trauma, understanding and sensitive teaching project will be expanded, because it is vital that the impacts of trauma and adversity on behaviour, mental health, wellbeing and school retention are considered in the school context.

The justice reinvestment trial will go some way to delivering a family-focused approach to reducing the over-representation of ATSI people in the justice system. I will be very interested to learn about how this has addressed family violence perpetrators as it progresses.

The increases in family violence victim liaison officers and in funding for legal aid are very welcome initiatives. I am particularly pleased to learn that an additional 100 victims have been supported in the first three quarters of 2016-17. Similarly, strengthening the criminal justice response through enabling the DPP to respond better to family violence matters is a welcome advance, as was the funding for interpreters in the court process. I note that not all of the funds for interpreter services were expended on this, while at the same time front-line services are struggling to pay for interpreter services to support victims of family violence. It would seem to me to be to be an appropriate diversion for some of those surplus funds to move from front-line services for the same translation purpose.

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