Legal centres welcome funds, but worry about abuse ‘hot spots’

THE Community Legal Centres Association of WA welcomed the Federal Government’s $100 million commitment to combat domestic violence, but said it was where the funding was directed.

Community Legal Centres Association executive director Helen Creed said the Attorney-General’s media release referred to northeast Perth and the Kimberley, but did not mention the specific areas or how domestic violence “hot spots” would be defined.

As part of the package, $15 million would be used to establish 12 new specialist domestic violence units and fund five health justice partnerships within existing legal services located in WA. Ms Creed said it was unclear how the Government would determine which legal assistance services would receive funding.

“While this funding means that fewer women and children will need to be turned away from legal services in areas serviced by these new units, what about the women and children living in other regions?” Ms Creed said.

“I am also extremely concerned at the absence from the broader $100 million package for increased funding for Indigenous Family Violence Legal Services to expand their legal and support services to indigenous woman in regional Australia.”

Ms Creed said she hoped family violence prevention advocate Rosie Batty’s Perth visit last week would highlight that domestic violence was not confined to certain areas.

“While we know Rosie’s advocacy work has forced an unprecedented national focus on family violence, the protection of women and children at high risk of family violence is a statewide issue,” she said.