Budget papers extract:
The Government will provide additional funding of $310 million through the National Legal Assistance Partnership, including:
- $129 million in additional legal assistance funding under the Women’s Safety Package to allow women’s legal centres to help vulnerable women access justice
- $60 million to provide dedicated legal assistance services for people with mental health issues
- $83.1 million to enhance and expand the number and geographic coverage of Family Advocacy Support Services ($85 million including administration costs)
- $17.1 million for enhancements of Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships providing additional, mental health specific funding for these services to respond to the growing needs of women who have experienced family and domestic violence in rural and remote areas
- $14.3 million to pilot legal assistance in family law matters for South Australia, and
- $6.7 million to support child sexual abuse prosecutions.
The Government is making major investments in our family courts to ensure timely resolution of sensitive legal matters. The Government will provide $60.8 million to fundamentally transform family law case management in the federal family courts to deliver a safe, child-centred, supportive, accessible, timely and efficient court system for Australians. The Government will also provide $29 million to implement the National Strategic Framework for Information sharing between the Family Law and Family Violence and Child Protections Systems to improve family safety outcomes.
The Government will provide $101.4 million in additional funding to enhance existing and establish 20 new Children’s Contact Services, which provide a safe, reliable and neutral place for supervised contact and facilitated changeovers, to minimise conflict between parents and reduce the risk to women and children of ongoing family violence.
In addition, the Government will provide $15.7 million to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse and $6.3 million to the Attorney?General’s Department to continue the Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties Scheme, which protects victims of family violence — who are primarily women — in family law proceedings. The Scheme enables victims of family violence to pursue family law outcomes that prioritise their safety and future economic security.
As part of the Women’s Economic Security Package, the Government will provide $10.7 million in additional funding to extend two well-received family law property pilots for a further 18 months to 30 June 2023. The complementary Small Claims Property Pilot and the Legal Aid Commission Trial assist separating couples with small property pools and will help to achieve affordable, timely property settlements.