Federal funding for domestic violence services now open due to spike during pandemic

The comfort of home can be turned into a place of nightmares for those suffering from domestic abuse, says State Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston.

"A safe home is something many of us take for granted," she said. "That's where our hard working police and support services come in."

Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston is encouraging domestic and family services to apply for the COVID-19 Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Grant program. Picture: Jan-Philipp Strobel.

Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston is encouraging domestic and family services to apply for the COVID-19 Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Grant program. Picture: Jan-Philipp Strobel.

Ms Preston's comments follow the opening of $9 million in Federal funding supporting domestic and family violence services.

She said a recent Australian Institute of Criminology report showed an increase in domestic violence during the pandemic, with many victims reporting it was the first time their partner had been violent towards them.

The grant program aims to ensure more victim-survivors can access services.

"Many domestic violence services have moved quickly to innovate and adapt their support during the pandemic," Ms Preston said.

"I strongly encourage organisations to apply for this funding.

"It might be used to launch a new program or expand or adapt an existing one to ensure those suffering domestic or family violence can get the help they need."

The program offers one-off grants between $20,000 and $150,000 to eligible services.

"Victim-survivors often contact frontline services before they make the decision to go to the police, which is why it's so important these organisations have the necessary capacity to deliver appropriate support," Ms Preston said.

Applications for the COVID-19 Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Grant program are open and close at 5pm on Wednesday, September 23.

Domestic and family violence contacts: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), The NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 65 64 63) or Men's Referral Service (1300 766 491).

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