Domestic and family violence is sadly an all-too-common feature of family law. To combat this the Federal Government has announced a two-year trial of special payments to anyone who is fleeing domestic violence under the Escaping Violence Payment (EVP) program.
Anyone experiencing or trying to escape domestic violence will be eligible for $5,000 of financial support. The first $1,500 will be in the form of cash, with the balance able to be paid directly towards rent, rental bonds, moving costs or school fees. The payment is not means tested and will not affect any social security payments that are received.
The trial has been introduced because studies have found that a significant number of victims remain in abusive relationships because they do not have the financial means to leave or reestablish themselves in a safer environment.
The need for such a support payment is critical. The Australian Council of Trade Unions has calculated that it costs a victim $18,000 and 141 hours in time to remove themselves from an abusive relationship. Data from the NSW Communities and Justice shows that on average it takes seven to eight attempts before a victim finally breaks away from her abuser for good.
While a $5,000 payment appears inadequate in the face of these statistics, it is hoped that this will be a first step towards expanding the support provided to those wanting to leave abusive relationships. It is hoped that the payments offered will encourage at least some in such relationships to leave and reestablish themselves in a safer environment.
The payment is available to those who are experiencing violence from their partner. This includes behaviour which is:
To access the payments all of the following requirements have to be met:
To be eligible for the payment Applicants have to provide evidence of financial stress and domestic violence. Evidence of domestic violence can include for example police reports, Protection Orders or a referral from a domestic violence support provider. Financial stress can be demonstrated by bank account statements, evidence of income and other financial documents.
The program is coordinated through the Uniting Care Network across the country. If you wish to find out more about this program or check your eligibility the please call 1800 875 559 or visit Escaping Violence Program.
Financial support however is only one important aspect of dealing with the issue of domestic violence. Victims have various legal options available to them depending on their circumstances. If you are experiencing domestic violence and require legal advice and support, please call to speak to one of our experienced lawyers today.
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