Cuts to support staff hurts vulnerable victims

Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Minister Yvette Berry cannot guarantee that budgeted job cuts across several services combatting domestic violence will be saved, Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert said.
Several frontline services supporting domestic violence victims through the court system will face cruel funding cuts impacting numerous staffing positions, paid for through the Safer Families Levy.
According to the ACT Revenue Office, the Safer Families Levy was established in 2016 to “provide community support and to raise awareness of domestic violence in the ACT community.”
After two days of questioning by the ACT Opposition, Ms Berry would not guarantee the jobs would be saved, nor could she confirm the total number of jobs that would be lost across services. Two jobs have already been lost.
Instead, Ms Berry told the committee the levy was intended for “innovation” and not for a “business-as-usual funding source”.
“One of the main purposes of this levy was to help hundreds of victims escaping domestic violence with legal, financial and practical assistance,” Mrs Kikkert said.
“Canberrans have supported the additional cost of the levy trusting that money raised would be used to provide essential frontline services to victims.
“Now, the government is offloading frontline services to pay for ‘innovation.’
“There is nothing wrong with innovation, but it should never come at a cost to essential services desperately needed by those fleeing violent situations.
“We cannot have a situation where hundreds of women and children become lost in the system because there are not enough support staff able to help them.
“The government needs to seriously rethink these cruel job cuts,” Mrs Kikkert said.