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Labor to dedicate $60 million to domestic violence victims

Opposition leader Bill Shorten. (Photo: Getty)
Opposition leader Bill Shorten. (Photo: Getty)

Australians fleeing domestic violence have been promised $60 million in emergency funds to set up a new life for themselves and their children if Labor is elected to government at the upcoming Federal election.

Bill Shorten’s government has pledged funds for about 20,000 “flexible support packages” for people trying to leave violent relationships over four years.

Based on a Victorian model, the packages are designed to help women leave relationships despite a lack of financial control and set up stable, permanent homes for them and their children.

The packages are expected to cost $60 million in total, which come out of Labor’s $640 Banking Fairness Fund, and will be specifically tailored to each victim to help them where they need it most, whether it be rent, furniture, transport, medication, home security, or transport.

“These packages are about helping people keep their life together in the most difficult of circumstances,” the opposition leader said in a statement.

“(They’re about) keeping the kids in the school they know, keeping the family doctor, being able to stay in work and study.”

Speaking to media, Shorten said that Australia had an “epidemic of family violence”

“Women should not be remaining in intolerable situations in danger of their physical or financial health,” he said on Monday.

So I say to women who are in an abusive and violent and exploitative relationships: you can actually draw a line under the sand. There are places to go.”

The packages won’t be restricted to women with children; young people, temporary visa holders and members of the LGBTIQ community will be able to access the funding as well.

Partners who exercise financial control in a relationship is an indicator of abuse, domestic violence organisation White Ribbon says.

Victoria has had flexible support packages since 2016.

As of July last year the state government has spent $64 million on more than 19,000 packages and was moving to expand the program.

–with AAP

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