More regional DV funding needed, Bell says

Monday August 13, 2018

Published by Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell MP

Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell has welcomed the Government’s commitment to funding a domestic violence crisis hotline for women across South Australia, but says more funding should be targeted towards services in regional areas.

The $1.66million in funding, announced ahead of the upcoming State Budget, will allow Women’s Safety Services SA to employ additional staff to expand their crisis hotline service to run 24 hours a day.

The hotline responded to more than 7,500 calls across the state last year.

Although he welcomed the announcement, Mr Bell said securing increased funding for staff and support services, specific to regional South Australia, was essential.

“Every hour, around three incidents of domestic violence are reported in South Australia and the statistics tell us rural and regional women are more likely to be affected than their city counterparts,” he said.

“Women living in regional communities who are dealing with this form of violence can face different pressures, including isolation, lack of transportation and finance, and a ‘culture of silence’ in the community in which they live.

“It makes sense to have regional-specific services to address these differences.”

Mr Bell said local agencies were under immense pressure to deal with the demand for their services.

“The Limestone Coast Domestic Violence Service has 3.4 full-time equivalent Case Managers to cover the entire region and they need ongoing funding to be able to continue supporting their clients in the long-term,” he said.

Following a pre-election promise by the Liberal Government to fund two regional crisis accommodation facilities, Mr Bell said he will seek to ensure the regions are not being left behind when it came to both services and facilties.

“Family violence affects entire communities,” he said. “By ensuring incidents of domestic and family violence are dealt with swiftly and holistically, we can create a safer South Australia for all.”