Funds boost for women’s court service

Support: The NSW Government has boosted domestic violence court support services for women at nine Hunter courts.NINE Hunter courts have received increased domestic violence support funding as part of a NSW Government response to rising community alarm about domestic violence and thedeath of one woman a week in Australia.

The 20 per cent increase over the next six months will fund extra court support services to domestic violence victims under a service managed by Legal Aid NSW.

Support services at Newcastle, Toronto, Belmont, Raymond Terrace,Maitland, Singleton, Cessnock, Muswellbrook and Kurri Kurri courts will sharean extra $70,000 as part of an $800,000 allocation to improve services until the end of June.

This is in addition to $8.3 million provided to the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service for the 2015/16 financial year. Further funding will be announced in the next state budget.

The extra $800,000 for court services across NSW for the next six months “will allow the services to provide intensive help to more women experiencing domestic violence”, Legal Aid NSW program manager Michelle Jonessaid.

“This extra money is very welcome and will help accommodate an increase in demand. It enables staff to offer appropriate help to all clients, including every woman who has been the victim in an incident of domestic violence reported to police.”

In 2015the servicesupported more than 30,000 women and children.

“The women we help come from all walks of life. Our services provide information about getting an apprehended violence order and going to court, advocatingon behalf of clients, and connecting them with a range of services for their accommodation, counselling and other needs,” Ms Jonessaid.

Therewere 2997 domestic violence-related assaults across the 11 Hunter local government areas in the year up to June 30 this year, equivalent to an average of 8.2 every day.

The region’s six short term crisis accommodation providers have about 120 beds to accommodate women and children, but staff said they urgently needed more.

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