Date: 1 December 2021
WOMEN’S LEGAL SERVICE FUNDING BOOST TO INCREASE SAFETY FOR DV SURVIVORS
Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) warmly welcomes today’s confirmation of a funding injection of $11.094 million over 4 years to meet significant and increasing demand for specialist domestic violence legal and support services.
The Federal Government funding boost administered by the Queensland State Government will fund the provision of a wide range of services for women experiencing domestic and family violence.
WLSQ Interim CEO Kristen Podagiel thanks the State and Federal Governments for the much-needed funding to help meet the growing need for specialist domestic violence legal support within the community.
“We sincerely thank the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments for listening to Women’s Legal Services Australia and stepping up with this funding for Women’s Legal Service Queensland. More women than ever before are reaching out for specialist domestic violence legal advice. WLSQ’s State-wide Helpline has experienced a 28% spike in calls from pre-COVID levels, answering over 13,000 calls from women, with 90% having experienced domestic violence”
“The last year has seen unprecedented increases in women experiencing domestic violence reaching out for help. This funding injection will mean we will be able to provide life-changing, free legal advice to more survivors when they need it most”.
The terrible news yesterday of the death of young mother Mary Benedito is a stark reminder of the critical need for ongoing funding for the full range of specialist family and domestic violence support services across the broader sector.
Demand for WLSQ’s specialist services continued to outgrow capacity last financial year:
- Despite the WLSQ State-wide Helpline responding to 28 per cent more calls than the previous year, 30 per cent of calls still went unanswered.
- The WLSQ Counselling Notes Protect – Sexual Assault Legal service has experienced a 22.7 per cent increase in demand.
- WLSQ social work services to clients experiencing domestic and family violence experienced a 73% increase in demand.
- Brisbane Domestic Violence Unit complex case matters more than doubled when compared to the same time last year.
This funding boost will expand WLSQ’s capacity to respond to the growing needs of Queensland women and children and their rights to safety and justice.