The latest police data shows breaches of DV orders continue to increase by 25 per cent as a pool of offenders are being monitored by the Gold Coast Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce.
Figures released to the Gold Coast Bulletin show the Government is increasing funding, focusing on new programs for perpetrators and providing more shelters to stop women and children living in cars by the beach.
New counselling programs are targeting offenders, working on rehabilitating them, but service providers maintain their waiting lists remain “significant”.
In the past three years, the Government has increased funding to domestic and family violence services in the Gold Coast City Council local government area by more than 50 per cent, from $3.27 million in 2014-15 to $5.17 million this year.
The funding boost does not include the $18.8 million to be spent across four years for the permanent Domestic and Family Violence Court at Southport.
Prevention of Domestic Violence Minister Shannon Fentiman, who released the data, has taken a verbal shot at her rival Ros Bates on the Coast.
Ms Bates, a registered nurse, spearheaded the Opposition’s tough DV reform laws which were accepted by the Government and applauded by families of victims such as Tara Brown and Teresa Bradford.
But the Mudgeeraba MP and the Minister have clashed continually in State Parliament with the Opposition maintaining shelters are being closed and the court lacks enough resources.
“We also recently announced that an additional specialised Domestic and Family Violence shelter will be established on the Gold Coast,” Ms Fentiman said.
“It is disappointing that the Member for Mudgeeraba would choose to mislead the Gold Coast community about funding for vital DV services, and these kind of comments do nothing to encourage victims of family violence to speak out.”
From 2014-15 to 2016-17, the amount of DV counselling hours for children increased from 2228 to 2330.
DV counselling and services have increased from 9268 to 11,450 hours, and perpetrator programs hours from 5162 to 7731 hours.
The number of court-based service hours has almost doubled, from 3785 to 7592 hours.
In shelters where there is increasing demand with temporary supported accommodation nights increasing from 5894 to 6044 nights.
Centacare Family and Relationship Service regional manager Sue Lloyd said more Coast women who needed help were trusting agencies to provide quality support.
“The flow-on effect is that it creates an increase in services. The Government is very aware of that,” Ms Lloyd said.
The number of men attending behaviour-change programs had doubled since the specialist court was created at Southport.
At least half of the men who had returned to newly funded new programs were voluntary clients, Ms Lloyd said.
“The other thing the Government has funded is a domestic and family violence mobile outreach service. What that provides is support for women and children who are homeless or at risk of being homeless,” she said.
“Certainly from our perspective, the Government is trying to address demand. Our waiting lists are still significant.”
LNP Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Ros Bates said Ms Fentiman was nothing more than a fly-in fly-out Minister who doesn’t understand the reality of domestic violence on the Gold Coast or across Queensland.
“I am a survivor of domestic violence and when women come to me saying they have been turned away from a shelter because of a lack of beds I get bloody mad.
“Labor have talked and talked about domestic violence for more than two years whilst watching the numbers explode.
“The Minister can talk funding all she likes, but I can tell her the reality is women are still sleeping in cars and not able to access services here on the Gold Coast.
“We have record numbers of offenders breaching orders and no solution from the Government other than more talk.
“Labor’s reckless spending on motels for domestic violence victims is nothing to celebrate, it is a complete failure in policy and planning.
“It was the LNP that introduced tough reforms to domestic violence laws from Opposition that the community wanted and Labor tried to block.”
This article was written by Paul Weston and has been copied from here.