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Counselling and support for West Australians experiencing domestic violence is being cut as the State Government negotiates its contracts, support providers say.
Relationships Australia WA says organisations such as theirs are being offered no extra funding, and in some cases are having funding cut, during contract negotiations with the Department of Communities.
Relationships Australia WA chief executive Terri Reilly says the cuts come at a time when domestic violence support services are most needed.
“This situation flies in the face of the reality we all know, which is that for increasing numbers of people, COVID-19 restrictions plus mounting unemployment plus financial stress can exacerbate violence and abuse,” Ms Reilly said in a statement on Friday.
“As a direct result of the Department of Communities contract negotiations, Relationships Australia WA will be forced to close two of our four men’s behaviour change groups – essential in helping perpetrators address their violence and in keeping women and children safe.”
Ms Reilly said the sector was already underfunded.
Relationships Australia WA and other providers of domestic violence support services had been pushed to a critical point, she said.
“In the face of escalating demand and increasing costs, deciding which services must be cut, and which individual women, children and men will no longer be assisted is a tough one – and one which we believe the government should take responsibility for.”