Labor pledges more family violence workers

March 11, 2022 BY

LABOR has pledged to fund an additional seven specialised domestic violence workers in Geelong should it win government at the next federal election.

Corangamite MP Libby Coker was joined by her NSW Labor counterpart Senator Jenny McAllister in making the announcement at Geelong’s Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre last Friday, where demand for the service is far exceeding the organisations projected targets.

As of January the service had already achieved its annual target for family violence case management and therapeutic support.

“We see no indication of this slowing down,” the centre’s CEO Helen Bolton said.

Mid last year Geelong’s Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre reported a 100 per cent increase in people seeking help, driven largely by COVID-19 and associated lockdowns.

“Demand has more than doubled over the last six months above what we are funded to provide in the Barwon area,” Ms Bolton told this paper at the time.

Ms Bolton said the additional workers would enable support to hundreds more women and children in the Barwon region and welcomed the welcomed the election pledge from Labor, but noted that rising rates of family violence in the region necessitated increasing and adequate funding.

“In Victoria, specialist family violence services are not funded at a level that meets current and increasing demand.”

“The lack of funding not only impacts victim survivors but also results in high levels of staff turnover and fatigue, with extreme difficulties across our statewide industry in recruiting experienced staff.”

2020-21 saw Greater Geelong record 4315 incidents of family violence, another 295 were recorded in the Surf Coast, the highest rates in five years according to Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency.

Queenscliffe recorded 15 for the last two annual reporting periods, down from 25 in 2016-17.

If you or someone you know needs support, please contact the SAFV Centre on [email protected] or telephone on 03 5222 4318 for Barwon support.