Legal services forced to turn away fleeing women

More people escaping domestic violence could be turned away from legal services during an epidemic of gender-based violence, a peak body warns.

Though the federal budget committed some funding to community legal centres, legal assistance programs dedicated to women affected by gender-based violence has been omitted, Women's Legal Services Australia found.

Their services are already forced to turn away 52,000 women every year, and without adequate resources, these numbers could grow.

A woman at a rally to a call for action to end violence against women
Women fleeing domestic violence need access the trauma-informed, integrated legal services.

The organisation's chair Elena Rosenman called the budget a step backwards.

"This budget means many women’s legal services will have to start planning to reduce services to women experiencing gender-based violence," she said.

"If we are asking Australian women to trust that the system will be there for them when they flee a violent relationship, we must ensure they can access the trauma-informed, integrated legal services they need."

One-in-four women across the nation experienced violence or abuse by an intimate partner and between 2022 and 2023 and one woman was killed every 11 days by a current or former partner.

A photo of Molly Ticehurst at her funeral service at Forbes in NSW
The prime minister says violence against women is a national crisis with dozens killed this year.

While violence prevention organisation Our Watch has welcomed investment in women's safety, its chief executive Patty Kinnersly says more must be committed to frontline services including legal assistance services.

"Violence against women is a national emergency," she said.

Greens senator Larissa Waters decried the government's refusal to increase the Jobseeker income support payment, which could have given women the financial security to leave violence.

“This is a budget that does almost nothing for women’s safety, and the more Labor ignores this national crisis, the more women will die," she said.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline 13 11 14

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store