The coronavirus restrictions, combined with unemployment and financial stress linked to the pandemic, have caused domestic violence cases to spike across the country.
At the same time, those on the frontline say that, despite the federal government’s $150m in additional domestic violence funding announced in March, there simply haven’t been enough resources to meet demand for chronically underfunded support services.
Illawarra Women’s Health Centre’s Sally Stevenson says her centre hasn’t received any additional funds through the national $150m domestic violence funding package despite a 27.3% increase in domestic and family violence in the Shellharbour local government area.
She is currently competing against other services for a slice of the second round of federal funding, which is capped at $150,000 per service for 12 months.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s shameful, and it’s inefficient,” she says. While overrun services spend time applying for grants, “the psychological injury that [women are] experiencing from domestic violence is not being treated,” she says.