Specialist workers funded to support at risk children
Frontline services in NSW will receive a share of $6.55 million to fund specialist workers to support children and teenagers living in women’s refuges.
This funding forms part of the $20 million Commonwealth Government contribution toward the Domestic and Family Violence National Partnership Agreement. Through this financial boost, more than 180 specialist services will be delivered across the state.
Federal Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said funding services that would assist those experiencing family and domestic violence, particularly children and young people, was crucial.
“It is important to recognise that children and young people are victims and survivors of gender-based violence in their own right and this funding will provide direct support those children and young people,” Mrs Rishworth said.
“Enabling children and young people who have been impacted by family violence to maintain connections with their social supports and communities is a key focus of the Albanese Government.”
Minister Rishworth said recent research from ANROWS found children who have witnessed family and domestic violence are more likely to be diagnosed with a range of mental health issues, including a twofold increase in substance abuse.
“We know that children as victims or witnesses of intimate partner violence can be twice as likely to have a psychiatric diagnosis, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and impaired language skills at age 10 compared to children who are not exposed to this unacceptable behaviour,” Mrs Rishworth said.
“The Albanese Labor Government, along with our state and territory counterparts, will explore ways to reduce the impact of family and domestic violence on children.”
Minister for Women's Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Natalie Ward said this will play a pivotal role in providing services directly to children and young people who have been impacted by domestic and family violence.
“Our plan to help break the cycle of family violence is in action,” Mrs Ward said.
“This funding will enhance an important support network for children and teenagers who have experienced abuse or have themselves been victims.
“Specialists will provide essential crisis response and case management to those who need to navigate life’s most complicated challenges throughout their formative years.
“Our Government is committed to preventing abusive behaviour for this generation and the next.”
Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones said it is important to provide services to support young people in these refuges to give them a chance at a brighter future.
“When children and young people leave violent homes and relationships, we know that it is vital to intervene early, providing wrap-around services and support that give them the best opportunity to build a future where they can succeed,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.
Around 20 service providers were awarded funding to employ specialist workers for children and young people in 2022/23.
Services may include, but are not limited to, assessment of needs and case management, educational support, individual and/or family counselling and social support.
DV West CEO Catherine Gander said the funding would help to fill a significant gap – made larger by ever increasing demands on their services.
“This funding means we can employ two specialist workers who are experienced in working with children who have experienced trauma,” Ms Gander said.
“Each child and young person who requires support will have access to a dedicated support worker who will design a tailored case plan for them. This alleviates the ongoing pressure we face daily in needing to triage our services with limited resources.
“DV West is committed to reducing risk to children and increasing the protective factors that support them to thrive. This funding will make an enormous difference for us, and we are both excited and relieved to see it come to fruition.”
For confidential advice, support and referrals, contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), the NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 65 64 63) or Men's Referral Service (1300 766 491).