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This quick guide provides a summary of recent
funding commitments by state and territory governments to address domestic and
family violence. It provides context for these commitments by giving an
overview of the national framework for reform to which all jurisdictions have
Terms used in
this quick guide
in this policy area varies across jurisdictions. The terms domestic violence and family violence are interchangeable in the context of comparing the
government funding packages that this quick guide covers. This guide
follows terms employed by each jurisdiction in their respective funding
announcements and policy documentation. There is, however, a meaningful
distinction between the terms in the context of the intergovernmental framework
(discussed in the ‘Overview’ below) and in the research literature.
See the Parliamentary Library research paper Domestic
Violence: Issues and Policy Challenges for further detail on related issues,
policy challenges and relevant terminology.
Domestic and family violence prevention receives funding from
Commonwealth, state and territory governments. The Commonwealth is responsible
for the overarching national policies designed to reduce violence, and the
states and territories are responsible for the front line services and law
State and territory governments develop policy with input from
independent reviews and inquiries into the recurrent incidence of domestic
and family violence and sexual assault in the community. In its 2009 report,
the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children argued
that most attempts by Australian governments to address this form of violence
have ‘struggled with the complexity and embedded nature of the problem’. Since
the release of the National Council report, there has been a concerted effort
to bring policy and funding across jurisdictions into a cohesive national
The National Plan: an intergovernmental
framework for action
2011, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed the National
Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children 2010–2022 (National
Plan)—the current framework to connect the efforts of all Australian governments
dealing with issues around domestic and family violence.
Plan ‘is the first plan to address domestic and family violence and sexual
- coordinates actions across jurisdictions,
- focuses strongly on stopping violence from happening in the first
place through primary prevention,
- looks to the long term through building respectful relationships
and working to increase gender equality to prevent violence from occurring in
the first place, and
focuses on holding perpetrators accountable and encouraging their
The National Plan is based
on the idea that linking the actions of governments, community organisations
and individuals is critical to reducing incidence and preventing occurrence. It
provides a mutual framework for governments to form a series
of action plans over a twelve-year period. All Australian governments have identified
to deliver through the action plans, thereby ensuring:
- communities are safe and free from violence
- relationships are respectful
- Indigenous communities are strengthened
- services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing
- justice responses are effective and
- perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account.
The First Action Plan under the National Plan
stated the intent that ‘... [each] Action Plan will be tailored to meet
priorities but will also allow sufficient flexibility for jurisdictions to
develop and implement the programs they consider will work best’.
How the National Plan relates to
The Commonwealth Government funds overarching
programs designed to reduce domestic violence—for example, the Government’s national awareness campaign, Stop it at the Start, that commenced in April 2016. The Commonwealth also
sponsors state and territory governments through national
initiatives, to which state and territory governments
also make contributions.
State and territory governments have primary
responsibility for providing services to those seeking assistance and to law
enforcement in relation to policing and prosecuting instances of domestic
violence. Programs and services are funded and administered by their respective
health, community and human services departments alongside law enforcement and
Detailed information on what Australian
governments have funded under the National Plan framework to 2015 is available
in the 2014–15
annual report for the Second Action Plan.
Action Plan is on the COAG agenda for the 2016 calendar year. Governments
at federal, state and territory levels have meanwhile made some significant
funding commitments in their 2016–17 budgets.
State and territory budget funding
The funding commitments selected for this guide highlight
relevant initiatives and measures by jurisdiction, with a focus on changes introduced
or commencing in the 2016–17 financial year.
The following sections outline state and territory
commitments in the chronological order their budgets were delivered.
The Victorian Government provided funding for a
family violence package of $572 million in its Budget on 27 April 2016. The
funding allocations were intended to address recommendations tabled by the Victorian
Commission into Family Violence in March 2016. The package represents a
significant increase in funding to those areas over an initial two-year period.
The Victorian Government’s
response to the Royal Commission’s report includes the formation of several
bodies so that stakeholder input feeds directly into the agenda for
implementing the Commission’s 227 recommendations. The governance bodies are as
Unlike other jurisdictions, no announcements for new funding
measures specifically addressing domestic
violence accompanied the Western Australian (WA) government Budget for
2016–17, released on 12 May 2016.
The WA Government released its framework for addressing
family and domestic violence, Freedom
from Fear, in September 2015. Also published in 2015 was an
action plan specific to the Kimberley region, which provides a framework
for responding to Aboriginal family violence. The State Parliament also formally
independent review of fatalities arising from family and domestic violence
and issues associated with restraining orders.
for Child Protection and Family Support annual
report for 2015–16 provides the most recent, publicly available overview of
the funding behind WA initiatives in the area of family and domestic violence.
Among funding for existing measures administered by various
WA agencies, the WA Attorney-General’s Department administers a grants program
for crime prevention and support initiatives, funded from criminal property
confiscation. Some grants
from the most recent round of funding were awarded to groups providing
legal support to victims of family violence.
The Tasmanian Government announced
a $330,000 commitment over three years when it delivered its Budget on
26 May 2016. The purpose of the funding is ‘to improve the
quality and accessibility of culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal
women and children experiencing family violence’. This commitment will
supplement the state’s $26 million Safe Homes, Safe
Families Family Violence Action Plan that commenced in August 2015.
Almost a third of the funding from the broader package
released in 2015–16 has gone into setting up the Safe
Families Tasmanian Coordination Unit, which began
taking referrals on 27 June 2016, and Safe Choices—an
early intervention and prevention support service.
The Northern Territory (NT) Government delivered its Budget on 24 May 2016,
announcing $6.8 million to support existing domestic
violence reduction and prevention initiatives as part of the Domestic and Family Violence
NT Budget contained a further $600,000 over four years to fund Indigenous Male Advisory
Council recommendations on family violence prevention initiatives. A sum of
$100,000 will fund minor upgrades to the Alice
Springs Women’s Shelter while the NT Government formulates a plan for new
crisis accommodation. During the NT election campaign that followed these
budget announcements, Labor’s
then Deputy Opposition Leader pledged $6 million to replace the
existing shelter with a new facility.
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) 2016–17 Budget,
delivered on 6 June 2016,
included a $21.4 million domestic violence package known as Safer
Families. This package targets
a number of areas, with an overall objective to ‘drive the
next phase of reform in whole of government, community-backed responses to
family violence’. It introduces new
aspects to service integration and coordination in the ACT in a formal
response to three commissioned reports
on family violence in the Territory.
annual levy will hypothecate funds for the majority of the Safer Families
package, applicable to all ACT households. This means of raising revenue to
address domestic and family violence is a
first in any Australian state or territory.
Assets Trust Fund will supplement the levied funds, allowing forfeited
proceeds of crime to go towards priority criminal justice initiatives and support
organisations committed to reducing domestic violence. A large component of this
funding will be directed towards the ACT Justice Reinvestment trial, which ‘targets services and support to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander families to improve life outcomes and reduce or prevent contact
with the justice system’.
The Queensland Government Budget, delivered on 14 June 2016, announced $198.2
million over five years to implement the Government’s response to the Not
Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland
report. This amount includes $192.9 million in new funding over four years and
$5.3 million in reprioritised funding from the state’s 2015–16 Budget. Major
components of the overall package include:
- specialist domestic and family violence courts ($42.4 million)
- additional or enhanced victim support services
($43.1 million) and
- eight specialist integrated-response teams ($26.3 million).
Smaller aspects of the package will fund:
- additional perpetrator interventions to help protect victims
- a communication and engagement program to change attitudes and
behaviours ($9.6 million) and
- two new shelters to support women and children escaping domestic
and family violence ($8.7 million).
New South Wales
The New South Wales (NSW) Government released its state Budget
on 21 June 2016. The Budget
contained $300 million
over four years for domestic and family violence initiatives. This package is
part of the NSW Government’s It Stops
Here framework for reform and its Domestic
Violence Justice Strategy. It includes funding to:
- expand Safer
Pathway, a coordinated multi-agency response for victims, by commencing 19 new
sites in 2016–17, subject to the evaluation of pilot sites (the program is currently
operating in six sites) ($53 million)
- further develop the Women’s
Domestic Violence and Court Advocacy Program and meet unmet demand to
respond to police referrals (amounting to $40.3 million)
- build on previously
announced funding that targets high-risk offender teams in the Northern and
Central Metropolitan police regions, rolling out to all six police regions in
the state over four years and deploying Domestic Violence Liaison Officers to
aid investigations ($25 million) and
- develop a Domestic
and Family Violence Innovation Fund ‘for prevention, early intervention and
crisis responses that support the efforts of specialist domestic and family
violence services and refuges’ ($20 million).
Safely program received $100 million in overall funding to subsidise
private rental costs so that family members leaving domestic violence have
access to safe and stable accommodation. The Commonwealth Government had announced
funding for this program under the National
Partnership Agreement on Homelessness in October 2015.
The South Australian (SA) Government delivered its Budget on
7 July 2016. The Budget
contained two new domestic violence measures, specifically:
introduce a national system for South Australia Police to share information
on domestic violence orders within and across jurisdictions as part of the
National Domestic Violence Order Scheme ($1.3 million) and
the multi-agency protection service (MAPS), funding two non-government
staff co-located with MAPS, enhancing links between government agencies and
domestic violence services that women may have accessed prior to engaging with
police ($683,000 over four years).
South Australia’s broader policy responses are set out in Taking
a Stand: Responding to Domestic Violence, and in the state’s Family
Safety Framework, which has been in place
Australian Government funding
commitments in 2016
For summary information on Commonwealth Government
funding commitments towards domestic and family violence, see the Parliamentary
Library’s Budget Review 2016–17.
While there have been updates to Commonwealth funding
announcements since the 2016–17 federal Budget, this quick guide focuses on
state and territory funding commitments that respective governments handed down
in their 2016–17 budgets.
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