Federal Government Under Fire Over Funding Allocations
19 November 2018 at 4:55 pm
The peak body for Western Australian social services has lashed out at the federal government for cutting funding to domestic and family violence programs in the state, saying it’s because domestic violence is not the headline issue.
It was announced on 28 October funding would be cut from the Keeping Women Safe in their Home program – which helps over 700 women – and this will affect six services in Perth and regional WA areas.
Louise Giolitto, CEO of Western Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS), told Pro Bono News that when money was given to organisations back in 2016, domestic violence was a front page story, but now that mainstream interest had dropped off, the federal government’s support had too.
“It shouldn’t be when it’s a headline piece that [the government] throws some money at it. Long term planning and thinking is needed to actually resolve this issue,” Giolitto said.
“Because it’s not high profile and because they used the excuse it was short term funding they’ve cut the money here in a WA.”
She said the recent trend of funding being cut from services and charities such as Foodbank, and then reinstated when there was public outrage, was frustrating for issues such as domestic violence which wasn’t getting as much media attention.
“A decision can be reversed… and I think it’s great that it was for Foodbank, but because family domestic violence doesn’t have the same public profile, it’s being overlooked,” she said.
While the state government has stepped in with emergency funding until the end of June 2019, the state Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, Simone McGurk, said it was money that could be used to fund other domestic violence prevention measures.
“The McGowan government is working hard to address the unacceptable level of family and domestic violence in this state and has invested an additional $20 million,” McGurk said.
“It doesn’t make sense to stop funding to a program we know is delivering real outcomes for women and children when they need it most.”
Giolitto said the affected services and the community sector had tried hard to get the attention of the government, but now encouraged every community member to do their bit to get long term funding reinstated.
“I would encourage every single community member to get on board and fight for this… because this is something that affects everyone,” she said.
“At least one woman dies a week in this country from domestic violence, and short term funding and cycles is not the solution.”