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Approximately 37 per cent of women in New South Wales have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15.167 Women are more likely than men to experience violence by someone known to them, with one in four women experiencing violence by a family member or intimate partner.168
The rate of domestic violence assault incidents in New South Wales has increased by 3 per cent annually over the past five years.169 Notably, research shows significant increases in violence against women in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 60,000 NSW women experiencing family and domestic violence for the first time and 46,000 women experiencing an escalation in violence.170
In addition to the personal cost, it is estimated that the escalation in domestic and family violence during 2020 will cost New South Wales $3.3 billion between 2020 and 2025, through reduced participation and productivity, private and public health costs, and increased consumption costs such as costs associated with property damage.171
A recent study found women with a history of intimate partner violence have higher lifetime health costs than women who do not experience intimate partner violence.172 The health impacts of intimate partner violence include short-term physical injuries and long-term effects such as increased rates of chronic conditions, sexually transmissible infections, alcohol disorders and mental health conditions.173
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are three times more likely to experience domestic and family violence, compared to non-Indigenous women.174 The severity of this violence is significantly higher, with hospitalisations for domestic and family violence seven times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women than non-Indigenous women in New South Wales.175 The NSW Government is developing an Aboriginal Family and Sexual Violence Plan to help achieve Target 13 of Closing the Gap, to reduce all forms of family violence and abuse against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children by at least 50 per cent by 2031.
A recent national survey of 1,392 migrant and refugee women across Australia found that approximately one in three have experienced some form of domestic and family violence.176 In particular, temporary visa holders report higher levels of violence, including migration-specific controlling behaviours such as threatening deportation or withdrawal of sponsorship.177 Migrant and refugee women are less likely than non-migrant women to seek help in response to domestic and family violence for a range of reasons, including limited knowledge of available services and language barriers.178
Among a suite of domestic and family violence measures, this Budget commits $4.4 million over three years to establish a new specialist multicultural domestic and family violence centre in southwest Sydney. The centre will provide a holistic and culturally appropriate response to domestic and family violence.
Domestic and family violence victim-survivors will be able to access the Rentstart Bond Loan program without having to meet existing income eligibility criteria. The program provides interest-free loans to assist with the cost of setting up a new private rental. This measure will make bond loan payments available to clients escaping domestic and family violence, regardless of their income, and may also include a grant of two weeks advanced rent which is required to establish a tenancy.
The NSW Government is also expanding access to the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper trial to include domestic and family violence victim-survivors. This follows recommendations to improve victim-survivor long-term housing outcomes made by the Domestic and Family Violence Shared Equity Scheme Taskforce.
The NSW Government is committed to increasing the capacity of support services to respond to people impacted by sexual violence. It will invest $4.2 million to increase the capacity of the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline, which is operated by Full Stop Australia. This includes a one-off funding increase of $500,000 in 2023-24 to increase service accessibility to priority populations. Currently, Full Stop Australia reports that a marked increase in calls to the helpline has resulted in almost one-in-three calls not being answered.179 The increase in funding will enable Full Stop Australia to be sufficiently staffed to answer all calls to the hotline.
Violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression persists for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and needs to be addressed and prevented. The NSW Government has allocated $3.5 million to extend the reporting deadline of the Special Commission of Inquiry on LGBTIQ hate crimes to 15 December 2023.180 The Inquiry is examining the manner and cause of death in all unsolved suspected hate crime deaths in New South Wales that occurred between 1970 and 2010 where the victim was a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. The decision to extend the deadline is a response to the substantial evidence submitted to the Inquiry.
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