$8.1 million to expand Redfern Legal Centre’s financial abuse service statewide
The NSW Government will help people experiencing financial abuse through an $8.1 million funding injection for Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) to expand its free service statewide over the next four years.
Since 2019, staff working in RLC’s financial abuse service have recognised the increased demand for their important support service and the need to prevent financial abuse.
The funding is expected to expand RLC’s current capacity from 300 clients per year to around 500 for free legal assistance, family law issues or money problems as a result of financial abuse.
Financial abuse is often an element of coercive control within intimate partner settings. It can involve restricting or blocking a person’s access to money, manipulating their financial decisions or using their money without consent.
Clients can contact RLC’s service in-person in Redfern, via phone call or webform. All clients of the Financial Abuse Service speak with one dedicated trauma informed legal support officer. Legal advice is provided across the state via phone and video call to clients, as well as face-to-face in Redfern.
The NSW Government is determined to reduce rates of domestic and family violence through a range of measures, and this boost to the legal assistance sector to support victim survivors is one of them.
A website to educate people about coercive control was created this year, explaining the signs and behaviours that constitute this abuse, ahead of coercive control becoming a criminal offence in mid-2024.
NSW Attorney General Michael Daley said:
“The legal assistance sector plays a critical part in our justice system, helping some of the state’s most vulnerable people access free, timely legal advice to stop problems escalating.
“This $8.1 million funding boost will mean more people across NSW can find information to protect and support them to recover from financial abuse, which can be a particularly insidious form of coercive control in relationships.”
Minister for Women, Minister for Seniors, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison said:
“Unlike signs of physical abuse, financial abuse is often difficult to detect. Lack of access to finances can be one reason people stay in abusive relationships.
“The service Redfern Legal Centre provides is crucial to making sure victim-survivors receive the right financial advice to be able to escape an abusive relationship. It is one of the many ways the NSW Government is working to reduce rates of family and domestic violence.”