The Salvation Army outlines immediate government action required as one woman is killed every four days in Australia

The Salvation Army outlines immediate government action required as one woman is killed every four days in Australia

The Salvation Army, one of the country’s major providers of specialist services for women and children fleeing family and domestic violence, welcomes the Albanese government’s announcement that the Leaving Violence Payment will now be permanent.

General Manager of Family Violence, Lorrinda Hamilton, says that while today’s announcement is a great start, other action is needed to ensure women remain free from violence.

“We know one of the main reasons women stay in violent relationships is that they are placed in the precarious situation of choosing between poverty and safety,” Ms Hamilton says.

“While the $5,000 payment certainly alleviates some of that stress, it does not address women’s long-term needs. Ensuring that working age payments, especially JobSeeker and Youth Allowance, are adequate to cost of living is critical to women remaining safe.”

Considering the devastating increase in women being killed by current or former partners (up from one women every 15 days in 2020-21 to on average of one every four days so far in 2024), The Salvation Army is seeking an immediate increase in investment in frontline services including:

  • An increase in the stock of crisis and transitional accommodation for victim-survivors.
  • Increased investment in primary prevention, early intervention and community education.
  • Investment to diversify modalities of intervention for persons using violence.
  • An increased number of specialist services that support children and young people exposed to, or who have used violence.

Ms Hamilton says there are major service gaps for victim-survivors that can ultimately trap women and children in violent situations.

“Family and domestic violence is the leading driver of homelessness for women”, she says, citing that in 2022-23, 68,500 people who attended specialist homelessness services were seeking assistance due to family and domestic violence.1

“We know that an estimated 2.7 million women have experienced violence or emotional/economic abuse by a co-habiting partner since the age of 15 and one in five Australians have experienced partner violence or abuse. This is a frightening statistic that will not go away without direct intervention.”2

In 2022-23, The Salvation Army:

  • Assisted more than 10,000 women and their children at risk of experiencing family violence.
  • Provided more than 62,000 sessions of care.
  • Provided more than 123,000 nights of emergency accommodation for women and children impacted by violence.

The Salvation Army is deeply committed to addressing family violence in Australia and continues to deliver specialised services around the country, including men’s programs, refuges for women and children, case management, supported accommodation, early intervention and brokerage programs.

“But it is still not nearly enough,” Ms Hamilton says.

Ms Hamilton also recommends the immediate expansion of the The Salvation Army’s early intervention program, Alexis Family Violence Response Model (A-FVRM), which is currently only implemented in Victoria.

The A-FVRM was developed in conjunction with Victoria Police 10 years ago to arrest the critical need for a more coordinated, effective and specialist response to family violence, particularly when there is a serious level of risk.

The Salvation Army currently has eight specialist family violence practitioners embedded in various Family Violence Units across Victoria’s Bayside Peninsula and Inner Gippsland. A-FVRM specifically targets families experiencing repeat incidents of violence where multiple complex and intersectional vulnerabilities impact their ability to engage effectively with mainstream services.

The A-FVRM provides a whole of family response, working towards reducing risk to women and children and by holding perpetrators of family violence to account through assertive outreach and interventions.

“We know programs such as Operation Alexis save lives,” Ms Hamilton says. “A great start would be to have this rolled out nationally, to ensure that not only victim-survivors get the help they require but also the perpetrators of such violence are given opportunities to engage in behavioural change.

“We do not want to see any more women die, children left motherless, and patterns of male violence continue to increase. We are doing our best, but know that with more safe facilities and funding, we can do even more.”

The Salvation Army’s General Manager of Family Violence, Lorrinda Hamilton, is available for interview.

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2024, 13 February). Specialist homelessness services annual report 202-23. www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-annual-report/contents/about
2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2023, 22 November). 1 in 5 Australians have experienced partner violence or abuse [Media release]. www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/1-5-australians-have-experienced-partner-violence-or-abuse#cite-window1

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