Emergency package to combat 'blight on the community'

Rachael Ward
3 Min Read
More than $73m will go towards reforming the NSW justice system to help victims. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)
More than $73m will go towards reforming the NSW justice system to help victims. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Bail law reform, homelessness prevention programs and greater support for victim-survivors are key initiatives in a NSW $230 million domestic violence prevention and support package.

Domestic violence is preventable and there needs to be a greater focus on disrupting the cycle of abuse early, Premier Chris Minns will say, when he unveils details of the four-year funding plan on Monday.

The emergency package was promised after NSW cabinet met last week to hear from experts in the field as governments around the nation grapple with how to prevent the rising tide of violence against women.

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More than $73 million will go towards reforming the NSW justice system to help victims, including $45 million set aside to improve bail laws and other systemic responses, to be detailed in coming weeks.

Some $48 million will go to expanding the Staying Home Leaving Violence program which helps prevent homelessness as well as providing more case management support through the Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Service.

The same amount will go towards funding more specialist support workers for children and $38 million will be spent on implementing the state’s first dedicated Primary Prevention Strategy to address the drivers of family violence.

More than $13 million will be spent on workforce training, expanding Domestic Violence NSW and funding research on perpetrators.

The package does not include money for a state royal commission into family violence.

One quarter of Australian women and one in eight men have been subjected to violence from a family member or partner since the age of 15, according to the NSW government.

Mr Minns says family violence is a blight on the community and a problem that deserves concerted attention and response from the government.

“Domestic, family, and sexual violence is preventable; we cannot accept the status quo,” he said in a statement.

“This funding announcement is an important step to doing better, to recognising that domestic violence supports need to be applied not just from a crisis response perspective, but with an eye to disrupting the cycle of domestic and family violence early and permanently.”

Attorney-General Michael Daley will reveal details of the justice system reforms in coming weeks as domestic violence supports and systems are reviewed.

“NSW needs a co-ordinated approach across multiple fronts to disrupt domestic violence - that is what this suite of funding initiatives is designed to achieve,” Mr Daley said.

Opposition Leader Mark Speakman says it’s time to act on bail law reform in order to address violence against women.

He made the comments on Sunday before details of the four-year funding plan were announced.

The opposition wants to expand the use of electronic monitoring devices to those on bail on serious domestic violence offences and remove court registrars’ power to determine bail for serious personal violence, in addition to other justice initiatives.

“Now is the time to act, we know that bail laws are not the entire answer to fighting domestic violence,” Mr Speakman said.

“We need a holistic approach, and we’re looking forward to the government’s response but now is the time to act on bail law reform.”

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