WOMEN’S Health in the South East and Gippsland Women’s Health are two of the 12 women’s health services in Victoria to receive a share of $3 million over the next two years to continue their work in preventing family violence.

The continuation of funding will ensure these services can build on their vital work to deliver prevention of family violence training, advice and support to organisations in their local areas, including local government and health services.

Of the 12 services receiving funding, nine are regionally based while three operate state-wide.

The investment includes $600,000 from the state government’s recent $59.4 million mental health package to help meet demand as Victorians reach out for help with stress and isolation during coronavirus. It’s also in addition to the $40.2 million package for crisis accommodation and specialist services for people suffering or at risk of family violence.

Family violence is a national emergency, with one woman killed at the hands of a current or former partner every week. It is the leading cause of death, disability and illness in Victorian women aged 15 to 44.

Disaster events cause enormous emotional, social and financial stress, and research shows this can compound the gendered drivers of violence and exacerbate the conditions that lead to violence.

Significant progress has already been made on the Royal Commission into Family Violence with 154 of 227 recommendations already implemented and the remaining all underway.

This includes establishing the Free from Violence strategy, Victoria’s plan to break the cycle of family violence and all forms of violence against women, and Building from Strength, a 10-Year Industry Plan for Family Violence Prevention and Response, of which this funding program forms part.

Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams said: “Research shows that during times of crisis, family violence can increase.

“It is more important than ever that the health services that support women and families continue [to] have the resources they need to keep Victorians safe,” Ms Williams said.

Bass MP Jordan Crugnale said: “In the Bass electorate, we know some of our communities see higher rates of family violence than elsewhere in the state, so this funding is exactly the sort of action we advocate for and are thrilled to see.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call triple zero (000).