Will Shepparton lose a specialist family violence solicitor in 2017?

portrait-1634421_640More than 70% of our casework features an element of family violence. In the 2015-16 financial year our service helped with 435 Intervention Order cases. And we assisted 30 Indigenous women at court with Intervention Order matters.

We were recently pleased when the Victorian government provided us with an additional $47,000 to allow us to continue supporting people experiencing family violence. This funding boost will allow us to extend our Family Violence Program to Mansfield.

But in 2017 our ability to provide a frontline family violence service will be tested. As of 1 July 2017, the Federal government will cut Community Legal Centres funding by 30%. In our case, this funding cut represents the loss of at least one family violence lawyer position.

Rather than providing ongoing funding to allow for service planning, early intervention and working collaboratively with other support services in our region, we are looking at going backwards. Rather than being funded to assist victims with related family law, child protection and financial matters, so that victims have a real chance to escape the violence and thrive, we are being funded to fail.

Without continuity of funding, even more family violence victims will go without legal advice and support at one of the most challenging times of their lives.

We urge all our supporters to raise this issue with Federal politicians to ensure that funding for our frontline family violence service matches the government’s rhetoric on the need to tackle family violence and protect women and children. If you are on Twitter, you can follow the issue via the hashtag #FundEqualJustice

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