The NSW Labor Government has committed $7.5 million in funding to expand support for victims of domestic violence across the state.
NSW Premier Chris Minns announced that $6.1 million will be used to hire specialist domestic violence support workers in local courthouses that hear domestic violence matters. The remaining $1.4 million will ensure specialist support workers are made available at selected police stations.
“We are committed to supporting those most vulnerable in our community, and through this funding we can provide improved and continued access to critical support services,” said Minns.
“These programs are working and they’re working well. I want to ensure they continue and expand to help more victim-survivors of domestic violence,” he said.
Ensuring support workers are available in local courts was first piloted in the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) program which ran for 12 months and operated in 73 courts across NSW.
The NSW Government investment will replace WDVCAS with a similar program that applies statewide and runs for a further 12 months. Support workers will assist victims in situations where an apprehended domestic violence order is contested in court or in matters relating to domestic and family violence criminal charges.
Jodie Harrison, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, praised the program for putting women’s safety first.
“Victim-survivors have access to specially trained workers who can help them navigate the legal system and help with referrals and case management,” said Harrison.
“It is about empowering women in crisis with the support they need at what is one of the most challenging times in their life,” she said.
“We are proud to be delivering the next phase of this program.”
It is about empowering women in crisis with the support they need at what is one of the most challenging times in their life.
Jodie Harrison, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Legal Aid NSW CEO Monique Hitter said the program fills “a crucial gap for women in need, providing wrap-around support to help both address and prevent domestic and family violence”.
The Government’s investment will also expand the NSW police force co-location pilot program which launched in October 2022. The program aims to improve the experience of victim-survivors who attend police stations and encourage reporting. The program will be extended by 12 months and expanded to a further five locations.
Attorney-General Michael Daley said that feedback from the co-location pilot had been incredibly positive.
“The co-location pilot, which was rolled out at Kogarah, Fairfield, Griffith, Armidale and Nowra Police Stations last year, was due to end in October,” said Daley.
“Today we, as a government, commit to the pilot’s expansion.”
Yasmin Catley, Minister for Police, added that the program will “target areas with high concentrations of domestic violence reporting and where there has been significant need identified for access to this support”.