The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC), the peak body for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in Australia, today welcomed the Attorney-General’s announcement of additional funding for six Community Legal Centres to establish and expand specialist domestic violence units.
The $3.4 million commitment over three years was announced as part of the 2016-2017 Federal Budget to establish new or expanded domestic violence pilot units. Today, Attorney-General George Brandis announced the specific allocation of the funding to eight legal assistance services across Australia, including five CLCs.
“Community legal centres play a vital role in providing expert community-based and holistic legal help to people experiencing family violence, in particular women and children. Family violence remains one of the top areas of law in which CLCs provide free help to hundreds of thousands of people every year” said Nassim Arrage, Chief Executive Officer of NACLC.
“We help with immediate issues such as safety planning and protection orders as well as other issues that are related to violence, such as family law, credit and debt, problems with social security, tenancy issues and employment” he added.
“We have already seen the difference that the 12 units initially established under this pilot program have made to the lives of women and children across Australia”.
“We welcome the Government’s recognition of the vital role that CLCs plays in helping people experiencing family violence, as demonstrated by this funding and the $39 million provided to CLCs in the Budget to reverse planned funding cuts which is targeted at family law and family violence-related services” said Mr Arrage.
“Importantly however, the announcement today relates to funding for a limited pilot program. We need to see the national roll-out of these units following evaluation of the pilot next year as well as Government funding and support for holistic and trauma-informed delivery of community based services”.
“Given the national crisis for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are still 34 times more likely to be hospitalised from family violence, funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations, such as Family Violence Prevention Legal Services is also absolutely vital”.
“It is important that all levels of government continue their stated commitments to addressing family violence across Australia and that momentum is not lost. We in the community legal sector look forward to continuing to work with the Government to ensure that people across Australia experiencing family violence get the legal help they need” Mr Arrage concluded.