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Women need legal services more than ever, national group says

Amid the urgent national cabinet meeting triggered by the deaths of 28 women in just four months, Women’s Legal Services says it is more vital than ever that its funding needs are met.

user iconNaomi Neilson 06 May 2024 Corporate Counsel
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Following the emergency national cabinet meeting to discuss the staggering increase in the number of women killed by men, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the government would introduce a $945 million package to support women fleeing violent situations.

Eligible women will receive $1,500 in cash and an additional $3,500 in services indexed over the coming years.

“This is indeed a national crisis, and it’s a national challenge, and we’re facing this with a spirit of national unity,” Albanese said.


“We want to change this in a way in which we all have to take responsibility because violence against women is not a women’s problem to solve; it’s a whole-of-society problem.”

The Women’s Legal Services Australia (WLSA) said more would be needed to offer legal services, with more than 52,000 women predicted to be turned away this year alone due to lack of funding.

Chair Elena Rosenman said women’s legal services are an essential part of the “legal, social and economic safety net” for women in crisis.

“All across Australia, communities are telling governments they want action. They want women who seek help in relation to domestic, family and sexual violence to be able to access support,” she said.

Rosenman said the national emergency is an opportunity for the government to commit to investing in community services.

“Women affected by gender-based violence need to understand their legal options, have advice and representation through legal processes, and support to manage safety risks that often escalated during engagement with legal processes,” Rosenman said.

“With adequate and secure funding, this is exactly the support our services can provide.”