Media Release: in effect as of 19 October 2021
Australian women escaping violent circumstances can now receive up to $5000, under the new Escaping Violence Payment (EVP) scheme. The 2 year government trial has allocated $144.5 million in the 2021-22 Federal Budget as a result of Covid-19 increasing the prominence of Domestic Violence in Australian homes. This is a part of the $1.1 billion women’s safety package of programs.
The grant is expected to ease the financial and psychological turmoil of victims fleeing violent relationships. Women’s Safety Minister, Anne Ruston, alludes to the impact of economic abuse which can include withholding or controlling of finances, diminishing the ability for victims to leave.
In a statement Ruston indicated, “the payments will assist people who need financial support to leave. We know the size of the house a woman is fleeing doesn’t matter – often she bundles the kids into the car, maybe the dog too and they leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) evidence 1 in 6 women record domestic violence from a partner, with a weekly death recorded at the hands of an intimate partner. The circumstances of Covid-19 have only amplified the epidemic. The landscape of Domestic Violence has evolved significantly over the past decade, with emergence terms such as coercive control, financial abuse and technologically-facilitated abuse. The benefits to this enables victims to be heard and receive the legal support they need, particularly in instances where manipulation and unambiguous forms of abuse make it more challenging to extrapolate yourself from the situation.
The payment constitutes $1500 in cash, with the remaining $3.5k accessible through necessities such as bonds, rent, school fees and other essential goods to establish a safe home. This is to provide more financial security and support for women making the brave decision to leave an unsafe and violent situation. To be eligible for the payment, you need to evidence domestic violence and financial stress. This is inclusive of but not limited to a referral from a family violence service provider, Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), court order or police report.
This is enacted just days after Michelle Darragh, a 32-year-old pregnant mother of two, was killed in a Melbourne home after a recent separation from her partner. We recognise separation is the most dangerous time for victims of Domestic Violence and a lack of financial aid can be the catalyst that inhibits individuals from fleeing.
The Australian government has elected Uniting Care to disperse the payments, however you can connect your local program partner to determine your eligibility. If you think you are entitled to this funding, submit an EVP enquiry form here!