Queensland Senator, Larissa Waters, writes about the findings in the interim report of the Senate’s groundbreaking inquiry into domestic violence.
Women are living with men who they fear will kill them because those women have been turned away from overrun refuges and the only alternative is sleeping on the street.
Desperate phone calls are ringing out at crisis line centres because there simply aren’t enough staff to answer endless cries for help.
Volunteer law students are filling in at women’s legal services because there isn’t enough funding to keep paying qualified lawyers, despite the tragically high demand for their important advice.
These are some of the harrowing realities we’ve heard through the Senate Inquiry into domestic violence, established by the Greens.
Women’s legal services, refuges and call centres have spoken at the Inquiry’s hearings in most capital cities.
Their front-line experience has not only further opened our eyes to the horrific extent of domestic violence in Australia, but it has also offered ways forward.
The Inquiry committee, made up of senators from all sides of politics, has been working on recommendations to solve our national domestic violence crisis.
Last week, we tabled our interim report in the Senate.
The final report is still some months away, given the volumes of information collected through more than 150 public submissions and six hearings in five cities.
However, the Committee decided to put forward interim recommendations before the federal government hands down its budget in May.
Many of the challenges frontline services currently face are as a result of funding cuts in last year’s budget.
We simply cannot allow this to happen again in this year’s budget.
This is why the Inquiry committee made sure that our strong recommendation that those cuts desperately need to be reversed was formally tabled in the Parliament before this year’s budget is finalised.
It’s vital that when we think about domestic violence funding, we remember that no matter what a woman’s financial background is, if she is in a controlling relationship, she may not have access to any money.