Federal budget 2021: Women’s Family Safety Group welcomes anti-DV funding but questions allocation

In its 2021 budget, the federal government has set aside $57.6 million to help Indigenous communities address domestic violence.

The budget also includes $26 million over four years for programs to be run by Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.

Shirleen Campbell is the co-coordinator of the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group in Alice Springs.

She says she welcomes news of the investment in preventing family violence but is eager to find out more about exactly where that funding will be distributed.

“We are concerned about money for accommodation and housing for women facing domestic violence,” Ms Campbell told ICTV.

“Women and children need a safe place to go and live. So far, I’m not seeing any extra money going into crisis accommodation … especially in remote towns and communities, because they’re the ones who need it most specifically.”

The government also announced $31.6 million for a ‘personal safety survey’ of Indigenous women.

The survey will be conducted via the Australian Bureau of Statistics and measure the prevalence of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

Ms Campbell questions whether so much money should be committed to a survey instead of frontline services.

“I’m not sure why we need surveys, let alone [ones] that cost so much money,” Ms Campbell said.

“I would’ve thought the government could have got a lot of the information from services like ours, coming from the grassroots.”

Ms Campbell says the problem of family violence can only be overcome through mutual respect and co-operation.

“My message is to work together — deep listening and two-way learning. When I talk about deep listening [that is] understanding specifically our young ones. Because they’re the ones who can see the future and they can see their vision.”

The government also committed $79 million over the next four years for Indigenous suicide-prevention programs, and has promised $185 million for new houses, housing refurbishments and housing-related infrastructure in remote communities.

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