Millions cut from DV services should be restored: inquiry

A SENATE inquiry into domestic violence says the Abbott Government should restore $583m funding it cut from domestic violence services.

The inquiry's interim report, which was tabled on Thursday, recommends re-instating funding that was cut from legal, housing and homelessness services and the Department of Social Services.

The report said the Federal Government cut millions from programs helping women escape family violence.

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About $64 million was slashed from community legal centres and services; $44 million from the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness which was to provide new shelters and emergency accommodation; $240 million from the DSS grants program; and the abolition of the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which would have seen $235.2m spent over three years.

There is also uncertainty over 39 domestic violence services whose federal money runs out on June 30.

This money was part of the $115 million National Partnership Agreement.

The report also raised concerns about the abolition of the National Housing Supply Council.

Greens spokeswoman for women Senator Larissa Waters, who established the inquiry, said the interim report was released to ensure money was made available in this year's Federal Budget.

"The committee heard harrowing evidence about the impacts of last year's budget cuts, including women being turned away from already overrun refuges to face either sleeping on the street or returning to violence," she said.

"Phone calls for help are ringing out in crisis line centres because there is not enough staff to answer the endless calls.

"Volunteer law students are filling in at women's legal centres because there isn't enough funding to keep paying qualified lawyers, despite the tragically high demand for their important advice

"We simply cannot allow the funding cuts to be repeated in this year's budget and the committee is strongly recommending that the funding already cut be restored."

- APN NEWSDESK



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