A RECORD amount of funding will be spent on family violence prevention initiatives in Victoria as part of the 2017-18 state budget.
The state government will spend $1.9 billion to implement all 227 recommendation from the Family Violence Royal Commission.
The plan is highlighted by $448 million to establish 17 Support and Safety Hubs across the state. It is unclear whether one will be located in Bendigo.
They will provide victims with a direct connection to the justice system, housing services and social services, via a “contact point”.
A further $271 million will be provided for after-hours crisis support, counselling and therapy.
Other family violence initiatives included in the 2017-18 state budget are:
- Five specialist family violence courts at $269 million
- Replacing outdated IT systems at Children’s and Magistrates’ courts, for $89 million
- Recruit 450 extra child protection workers and expand family services, at $161 million
- An additional $133 million for extra long-term housing, rental assistance, crisis accommodation
- $101 million for the Central Information Point – for government and agencies to share information
- Establishment of the Prevention Agency for $50.7 million, to create a primary prevention strategy
- A $95.4 million announcement to up-skill Victoria’s social services and justice workers
- $33.5 million in Indigenous family violence prevention initiatives
- $11.4 million to expand existing Indigenous family violence prevention programs
- A new Koori Women’s Gathering Place initiative, for $1.1 million
- $38.4 million to train hospital staff to identify patients experiencing family violence
- Expansion of the head leasing program for family violence victims
- $50 million for Victoria Legal Aid and community legal centres
- Court Integrated Services Program to expand with $25.1 million funding
- $9.4 million for family violence restorative justice program
Premier Daniel Andrews said the state government will establish one of the world’s first family violence prevention agencies.
“These are vast and lasting changes, and they’re going to save lives,” he said.
“We need to keep victims safe. We need to keep perpetrators accountable. And we need to keep confronting the problems that cause family violence.”
The budget also included funding for 3100 extra police officers, including the construction of a new police station in Wedderburn.
The plan for extra officers was fast-tracked in December.