The Federal Government will provide women across Australia who are leaving a violent relationship access to a one-off payment of up to $5000 to help them establish a life free of violence.
Under the two-year Escaping Violence Payment trial, women will receive financial assistance of up to $1500 in cash, with the remainder available for goods and services or direct payments of bonds, school fees, or other support to help establish a safe home.
The UnitingCare Australia Consortium has been selected as the service provider to deliver the payments. It will also support women to engage with other relevant services that support women and their children. This includes other Commonwealth or state and territory government funded community services.
Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the payment will be incredibly important in assisting women who need financial support to leave violent relationships.
“It doesn’t matter where you live, women from all backgrounds can and do experience domestic violence – it is one of the most important issues facing society,” Mr Drum said.
“This new payment is further support under the Federal Government’s record $1.1 billion investment in women’s safety.
“This Government is absolutely committed to ending domestic, family and sexual violence, and if this new payment helps just one woman escape abuse, then it is money well spent.”
Minister for Women’s Safety, Senator Anne Ruston, said the payment will help address the financial barriers that may stop women leaving violent relationships.
“We know that financial hardship, as well as economic abuse, which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money, reduces women’s ability to acquire and use money, and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships,” Senator Ruston said.
“The new Escaping Violence Payment aims to help address those issues so women have more security when making that brave decision to leave any form of intimate partner violence, including physical violence, coercive control and financial abuse.
“We know the size of the house a woman is fleeing doesn’t matter – often she bundles the kids into the car, maybe the dog too, and they leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.”
As part of individualised support packages, UnitingCare Network agencies will provide tailored assistance and engage with other relevant agencies that support women and their children, including other Commonwealth or state and territory government funded community services.
The Escaping Violence Payment is not considered taxable or reportable income and will not impact on any other social security payments a recipient may be receiving.
Eligibility includes financial stress and evidence of domestic violence including, but not limited to, a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan, an AVO, court order or a police report.
Women can apply for the payment through UnitingCare Network from October 19, 2021. More information is available here.
The Escaping Violence Payment builds on and complements existing programs offered by state and territories, as well as Federal Government support offered to women experiencing violence, including:
- Services Australia’s Crisis Payment for Extreme Circumstances of Family and Domestic Violence
- No Interest Loan Scheme for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence
- Emergency Relief
- Keeping Women Safe in Their Homes
The two-year trial will be independently evaluated to assess the benefit of the payment, including demand, eligibility criteria, needs of specific cohorts, and how it works with related services.
The $144.8 million Escaping Violence Payment trial is part of the landmark $1.1 billion women’s safety package contained in the 2021-22 Women’s Budget Statement.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au