Financial Aid Offered To Escape Violent Relationships

A new financial aid plan to help men and women escape violent relationships is now being trialled by the Federal government, with a one-off payment of up to $5,000 available to help establish a life free of violence. Under the two-year Escaping Violence Payment trial, eligible people can receive financial assistance of up to $1,500 in cash with the remainder available for goods and services or direct payments of bonds, school fees or other support to help establish a safe home.


This follows research which shows that one of the main reasons people stay in violent relationships is financial. Many don’t leave the relationship because they simply can’t afford to.


The UnitingCare Australia Consortium has been selected as the service provider to deliver the payments and will also support people to engage with other relevant services that support them and their children. This includes other Commonwealth or state government funded community services.


Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston said the payments would help address the financial barriers that may stop men and women leaving violent relationships.


“We know that financial hardship as well as economic abuse, which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money, reduces people’s ability to acquire and use money and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships,” Minister Ruston said.


“The new payment aims to help address those issues so people have more security when making that brave decision to leave any form of intimate partner violence – including physical violence, coercive control and financial abuse.”


Member for Longman Terry Young said, “It doesn’t matter if you are living in Caboolture or Bribie Island, people from all backgrounds can and do experience domestic violence.”


People can apply for the payment through UnitingCare Network’s individualised support packages which provide tailored assistance and engage with other relevant agencies, including other Commonwealth or State and Territory government-funded community services.


Eligibility includes financial stress and evidence of domestic violence including, but not limited to, a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan, an AVO, court order or a police report.


The Escaping Violence Payment (which is not considered taxable or reportable income and will not impact on any other social security payments a recipient may be receiving), will build on and complement existing programs offered by state and territories, as well as Australian Government support offered to women experiencing violence. These include Services Australia’s Crisis Payment for Extreme Circumstances of Family and Domestic Violence, Emergency Relief and Keeping Women Safe in Their Homes programs.


The two-year trial will be independently evaluated to assess the benefit of the payment, including demand, eligibility criteria, needs of specific cohorts, and how it works with related services.


More information is available at www.unitingvictas.org.au/escaping-violence-payment.


If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visitwww.1800RESPECT.org.au

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