Close this search box.
Women Domestic and Family Violence Latest News

A momentary triumph for contracts lacking long-term vision

3 min read

Domestic Violence NSW commends the Labor Government on confirming its renewal of urgent funding for 20 Specialist Workers for Children and Young People, due to expire on June 30 2023. Domestic Violence NSW as the state peak body for specialist domestic and family violence services was notified of this funding win on June 22, after considerable advocacy alongside the Greens. 

Children and young people specialist workers play a crucial role on the frontline against domestic and family violence. These roles ensure that children and young people presenting to specialist domestic and family violence services are recognised as victim-survivors of violence and receive tailored support as clients in their own right. Child maltreatment is widespread with 39.6% of Australians aged 16-65 reporting exposure to domestic violence during their lifetime, 32% reporting physical abuse, 28.5% reporting sexual abuse and 8.9% reporting neglect.

The impacts of domestic and family violence on a child’s development, mental and physical health, housing security and general wellbeing are well established.[2] Children in families where domestic and family violence is present are more likely to experience poor mental and physical health, poor educational outcomes, and are at significantly higher risk of entering into violence relationships as adults, both as victims and perpetrators.[3] 

The need for these specialist workers is clear, as is their success in the 2022 pilot. Specialist workers support children and young people to return to school and childcare, access specialist mental health services, find appropriate accommodation, and access health services such as dental, optical, auditory and childhood vaccinations.  

“We cannot underestimate the impact these specialist workers are having on young lives. One member told us that from their service alone, a total of 102 children and young people have been supported in the program from September 2022 to February 2023. 50% identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, 20% were from migrant and refugee communities and 15% had Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) child protection involvement. That’s the impact of just one of the twenty workers!” said Delia Donovan, Domestic Violence NSW CEO.  

The limited geographical reach of the 20 funded positions means that only a small percentage of the children and young people accessing specialist domestic and family violence services in NSW receive targeted support. Domestic Violence NSW have long advocated for specialist children’s workers in every refuge, NSW Health sexual assault service, domestic and family violence service, and ‘Staying Home Leaving Violence’ program location in NSW. Domestic Violence NSW is thrilled and relieved to see the current funding continue and committed to working with the NSW Government towards the goal of fully funded Specialist Workers for Children and Young People in every frontline domestic and family violence service in NSW. 

“Short-term contracts are more than just short-sighted – they can be dangerous,” added Donovan. 

“The decision of past governments to set contract renewal dates at the end of a financial year when there is an election and possible change of government is not strategic, is not safe and is not fair to those specialist workers and the vulnerable children they are trying to support.” 

In the lead-up to the NSW budget in September DVNSW looks to the Labor government to ensure the problematic practice of short-term contracts for domestic and family violence services does not continue. Labor committed to five-year contracts for the sector in their election campaign. With the Treasurer reportedly preparing to make deep cuts to balance the budget, Domestic Violence NSW implores the government to ensure that any funding cuts do not impact the most vulnerable people in our community and the livelihood of the specialist workers who support them. 

“I’m not just talking about jobs on paper, I’m talking about hard-working frontline workers living with prolonged financial and job insecurity,” Donovan commented.  

“I’m talking about mothers trying to support their children whilst escaping the complex web of violence. I’m talking about vulnerable children being left without support, at a time when they need it most.”  

Website | + posts

Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Stories

Next Up