Urgent funding needed for Victoria’s regional and rural centres struggling to tackle the scourge of domestic abuse remains uncertain.
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Despite family violence forming the main focus for the government's safety agenda including an allocation of $572 million for 65 of the most urgent recommendations from the Family Violence Royal Commission, there was no word on how any funds will be distributed in regional Victoria.
Rates of family violence in Bendigo and surrounding regions continue to soar and outreach services are being inundated by demand.
Last year, The Bendigo Advertiser reported rates of family violence in the City of Greater Bendigo have increased more than 150 per cent in the last five years, exceeding the general increase across the state.
When questioned by Fairfax media on whether any of the 17 safety hubs would be established in Ballarat or Bendigo, Victorian Agricultural and Regional Infrastructure Minister Jaala Pulford said discussions for the sites of the hubs were underway but no decisions had been made.
However, Ms Pulford said regional and rural areas facing high rates of violence will be prioritised.
“The royal commission recommended the establishment the safety hubs which will bring and integrate services in a way they have never done before,” Ms Pulford said.
“We plan to allocate a hub to each Department of Human Services region.Where specifically in each region these centres will be housed is something we will discuss with local service providers.”
“However, in particularly in larger population centres (where rates of violence are high) and the population dominate Department of Human Services in the region, we can confidentially say that will be the case in terms of specific site we are working on that.”
She said the government was committed to rolling out the recommendations of the inquiry “as fast as humanly possible”.
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