To tackle the challenge of domestic and family violence we need full funding of services.
The next key opportunity to get that is in the next federal budget - which is being shaped right now.
All budget decisions are negotiated hard; and getting funding like this approved often relies on broad support across the party room. Andrew Broad MP and Ken Wyatt MP are members of the Government, and the Co-Convenors of the Parliamentarians against Family Violence Friendship Group –- and as such are well placed to act as internal champions on this issue.
Can you write Mr Wyatt or Mr Broad a personal letter asking them to be internal champions within their party rooms, building support for full funding of family violence services?
Could you encourage your congregation or bible study group to spend time writing letters together?
This campaign is undertaken in partnership with Fair Agenda
1. Tips on writing your letter:
Personal stories and connections are one of our most powerful tools - and we know politicians rarely receive hand-written letters anymore, which means when they do receive them they’re taken even more seriously.
The more personal the letter, the more powerful it will be, so include your own thoughts and experiences - but here's a structure to help you put together your letter:
Introduce yourself - Mention where you live and what you do. If you voted for the government at the last election you might want to mention this.
Explain the reason you're writing - Explain why you care about this issue. If it has affected you or someone you know, mention this. Feel free to mention that your faith in Jesus might be shaping your concern here. Then explain that you're writing because you're concerned that the federal government are leaving women in danger, by failing to provide full funding for the services that support women to live free from danger, and which prevent violence in the future.
Let Mr Wyatt or Mr Broad (or better still, both) know that you want the government to provide dedicated full funding to the services needed to help women escape abuse, and to prevent abuse in the future. That means making sure the next budget includes the federal funding needed for services like:
Specialist domestic and family violence services - these women’s services provide a unique, specialist understanding of family violence and of risk assessment and management for women and children affected by family violence. To escape danger, it’s critical that women and children in need can get 24-hour specialist, accessible and culturally safe integrated support. Right now, in Victoria alone police make 70,000 attendances at family violence incidents. Outreach services are only funded to respond to 6,000 of those.
Legal assistance services - can be critical to ensure a woman is able to find out where she stands with family law, and to feel able to escape her abuser. Community Legal Centres (CLCs), are an important provider of this support -- in fact a third of the work they do is family violence related. But inadequate government funding for CLCs meant more than 150,000 people aren't able to get the help they need every year, among them family violence victims.
At the same time Family Violence Prevention Legal Services - which provide specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal women are also unable to meet demand.
The Productivity Commission has told the federal government the legal assistance sector as a whole needs an urgent injection of $120 million.
Men's behaviour change programs - work with men who use violent and controlling behaviour to prevent and minimise the harm of family violence. These programs are calling for an additional $56 million of funding to expand programs and ensure national minimum standards and accreditation.
Primary prevention - needed to address the community attitudes that lead to violence. They need additional funding for a range of programs including early childhood interventions and respectful relationship education in schools.
Emphasise the importance of dedicated funding. Right now specialist family and domestic violence services are often funded through other portfolios - and it means they often have no assurances of ongoing resourcing. If we expect to tackle this crisis governments need to resource the specialists - and that means providing dedicated full funding.
Urge Mr Wyatt and Mr Broad to champion this within the government - and to ask their colleagues in Cabinet and the Expenditure Review Committee to make full funding of family violence services a priority in budget negotiations. As a Co-Convenors of the Parliamentarians against Family Violence Friendship Group, Mr Wyatt and Mr Broad clearly care about this issue. Ask them to act as an internal champion during the budget shaping process - to meet with their colleagues about it, to raise it in meetings and in budget discussions - and in Parliament.
Thank them for his time. Thank Mr Wyatt or Mr Broad for taking the time to read your letter.
2. Then send your letter to:
Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
Mr Andrew Broad
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
3. Let us know:
Once you've written your letter, please take a photo and share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track of all the powerful messages being sent to MPs on this issue, and share them with other members of the Common Grace community!
Thank you to Fair Agenda for their work on securing funding for domestic & family violence services, and for their generosity in assisting us with this campaign.