The Gillard government continues to baulk at funding the continuation and expansion of the highly successful Victorian Bsafe domestic violence pilot which provides personal safety alarms to women and children at risk of domestic violence. A motion by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon was agreed to by the Senate today, however Labor Senators voiced opposition to it in the chamber (full motion below).
Greens Senator and spokesperson for women Lee Rhiannon said:
"The Bsafe program was thrown a temporary lifeline by the federal government last summer, with a small cash injection of $55,000, but while co-ordinators are still serving existing users in rural Victoria they cannot offer it to new women and children.
"This simple but effective and award winning scheme is widely praised by users, community workers, police, and women's groups and should have been funded in Tuesday's budget.
"It's time the Gillard government got behind the Victorian scheme by committing recurrent funding and rolling it out across Australia.
"It beggars belief that we have a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, backed by the states, but the federal government cannot find $340,000 over 3 years to assist women and children to feel safe in their own homes.
Greens Senator for Victoria Richard di Natale said:
"Extending regular, recurrent funding to the Victorian Bsafe program is long overdue.
"Research shows intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to illness, disability and preventable death for Victorian women aged 15-44. It ranks higher than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.
"Women report that the Bsafe alarm system is far simpler to activate than making a 000 call, which can take time and escalate a dangerous situation.
"A relatively small injection of funding will give women and children some security and increased confidence to remain living in their homes.
Co-ordinators of Bsafe program also available for interview.