The Federal Government now has financial assistance available for women fleeing domestic violence. RMB Family Law specialist CLAIRE OSBORNE explains how the payments are administered:
According to the Australian Bureau of statistics, one in six women have experienced partner violence and one woman is killed every nine days by a current or former partner.
This is an extraordinary indictment on Australian society, but at least now women escaping violent relationships can now access financial assistance of up to $5000 to help them extricate themselves from dangerous situations.
The Escaping Violence Package (EVP) formed part of a $1.1 billion women’s safety package in the 2021-22 federal budget.
The assistance comes in the form of $1500 cash and the remainder in goods and services or direct payments of bonds, school fees or other support to help women establish a safe home and life for themselves and their children.
The financial assistance will be established and provided by UnitingCare network, including UnitingCare Australia with nine organisations around the country linking into state and national family violence services.
These service providers will deliver the payments but also assist women to engage with other relevant agencies that can support them and their children, including other government-funded agencies.
The EVP is available for people aged 18 and over who have recently experienced family violence, have a changed living situation and are experiencing financial stress.
That violence can be physical, verbal, sexual, psychological or economic, which includes controlling bank accounts or withholding access to finances, which can make it extremely difficult to leave an abusive relationship.
The aim of the EVP program is to help women reestablish themselves safely after leaving a violent partner. The assistance aims to address the financial barriers that may stop women from leaving violent relationships – including physical violence, coercive control and financial abuse.
The service is confidential, and the payments are not considered taxable or reportable income and will not impact on other social security payments. Eligibility includes financial stress and evidence of domestic violence including, but not limited to, a referral from a family and domestic service provider, and Apprehended Violence Order, court order or police report.
If you are in a situation of danger, call 000. If you are experiencing family violence and need support or advice you can call 1800 RESCPECT on 1800 737 732 alternatively find them at https://www.1800respect.org.au/
Alternatively, if you have any questions about the financial assistance available, your first step should be to contact our office to arrange a free consultation. You can contact us by by phone or our 'Ask a Question' tool on our website.