$60 million boost to help prevent family and domestic violence

Posted on February 10, 2021
  • Two new one-stop FDV hubs to open in regional WA and Perth, in addition to the two recently established by McGowan Government
  • $29.5 million Safe Home Safe Family package for women and children fleeing violence
  • Specialised Family and Domestic Violence Forensic Unit to assist with securing FDV perpetrator convictions
  • Initiatives to stop the cycle of abuse and prevent violence before it starts, including additional support for Respectful Relationships and Caring Dads

Western Australia’s strategies to combat family and domestic violence (FDV), support survivors and break the cycle of abuse will undergo a $60 million expansion under a re-elected McGowan Labor Government.

This investment will fund a wide range of measures to complement the McGowan Government’s considerable work to combat the scourge of family and domestic violence over the last four years.

The new $29.5 million Safe Home Safe Family package will see two new one-stop FDV hubs open in the metropolitan area and regional WA – in addition to the two the McGowan Government has recently established in Mirrabooka and Kalgoorlie.

The Safe Home Safe Family package will also see the implementation of a two-year trial of a rapid rehousing pilot project for women and children leaving refuges. Each year the program will provide up to 40 women and their children with rental subsidies and bond support for an average of 20 weeks to enable them to get into the private rental market.

An Aboriginal-specific rapid rehousing pilot trial will also support up to 40 women and their children to get into private accommodation.

Safe Home Safe Family will also include an extension of the Safer Pathways program for women and children in the public housing system – providing alternative housing options and other transitional support for those in crisis.

Safer Pathways – currently offered in Victoria Park and Cannington – will be expanded to Mirrabooka and Midland, expanding support to about 187 clients each year.

In addition, the Safe at Home program – which provides support services, transitional accommodation, funding for home security upgrades and programs for victims and perpetrators – will also be expanded to support an additional 150 women and their children each year.

The Pets in Crisis and Building Animal Relationships with Kids (BARK) programs will be expanded from the metropolitan area into Albany, Busselton and Bunbury – providing families fleeing violence with foster care for pets and education programs for children who have experienced violence in the home.

A re-elected McGowan Government will also expand a pilot program which makes it easier and less traumatic for FDV victims to obtain violence restraining orders, as part of a $14.2 million law reform package.

Currently being rolled out to the Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup Magistrates courts, the program will expand to support victims in Bunbury, Broome and Armadale.

Further law reform measures include a trial of an FDV Forensic Services capability to give authorities the best chance of securing convictions against perpetrators by providing specific diagnosis, evidence collection and reporting on FDV cases.

Justice reforms will also include the introduction of an FDV-focused pilot program for women in prison to support a safe transition back into the community.

Prevention of family violence resourcing will receive a $7.3 million boost, including the establishment of a new framework in partnership with a specialist primary prevention organisation to deliver services in the community.

Efforts to stop the cycle of abuse will be enhanced with a trial of the Caring Dads Program in the Peel region to engage men in group interventions to change behaviour and an expansion of the Respectful Relationships program to 12 additional schools.

An additional 3,000 first responders such as ambulance officers will receive training to help recognise and respond to suspected FDV cases they see in their line of work.

A further $4 million will be invested in new Supporting Survivors initiatives to help women exiting refuge to move on with their lives – including subsidised driving lessons, subsidised dental treatment and law changes to provide survivors with five days of unpaid domestic violence leave.

The program will also provide one regional and one metropolitan-based family violence counselling program for up to 274 teenagers each year who have experienced FDV.

In Broome, an Aboriginal-led Specialist Family Violence Court will be established through a $4.8 million commitment – providing support to Aboriginal women who have experienced violence and special interventions for perpetrators of violence.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“Violence and abuse is never acceptable – but it is particularly abhorrent when this kind of behaviour happens in the home at the hands of partners or other loved ones.

“My government has made combatting family and domestic violence, supporting survivors and stopping the cycle of abuse a priority – and if re-elected, we will expand our successful programs and embark on new measures to protect vulnerable community members.

“This $60 million package includes a raft of measures to get vulnerable people out of violent situations and into safe accommodation.

“Our efforts in FDV will continue to focus on getting victims out of abusive environments and into new accommodation, tightening legal protections to keep survivors safe and continuing to educate young people about respectful and loving behaviour in the home.”

McGowan Government’s record on Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence

  • Appointed WA’s first dedicated Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence
  • Invested in more community based services including two new women’s refuges
  • Established a residential-based perpetrator behaviour change program in Maylands
  • Piloting of two new one-stop FDV hubs in Mirrabooka and Kalgoorlie
  • New family and domestic violence counselling service in the Peel region and expanded support services in the north metropolitan area
  • Set up the RSPCAWA Pets in Crisis program
  • Increased financial counselling services, employed extra domestic violence workers and community response workers and established a new job retraining scheme for women in refuge
  • Enacted much-need family violence law reform, including changes to residential tenancies laws to make it easier for victims to leave abusive environments or make security upgrades to properties
  • Changes to the criminal code, bail, restraining orders and sentencing to protect victims
  • Created new criminal offences for non-fatal strangulation and persistent family violence to recognise that physical and psychological abuse against a partner often forms a pattern of offending, and enable courts to declare perpetrators as ‘serial family violence offenders’
  • Introduced paid leave and other measures for public sector employees affected by family and domestic violence
  • Implemented the WA Respectful Relationships Teaching Support Program pilot to teach students about positive and respectful relationships from a young age and prevent domestic violence before it starts