Despite having the highest rates in the state, Echuca has lucked out again in family violence funding.
Although Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre was one of 28 centres across the state to receive a Community Legal Centre Family Violence Fund grant, the funds will not help victims in Echuca.
The Victorian Government funding helps victims access family violence duty lawyer service and with legal proceedings in magistrates courts.
LCCLC legal practice manager Clare Sauro said the centre received $47,500 over 12 months, which would allow it to work together with other service providers in Maryborough and continue some of the work in the Bendigo-based Health Justice Partnership with Bendigo Community Health Service.
‘‘Very unfortunately the money is not enough for us to reach all the disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our catchment and, accordingly, this funding will not specifically help family violence victims in the Echuca area,’’ she said.
‘‘We would like to do more work in Echuca, knowing the high levels of family violence in the region, but we need funding to do this.’’
Ms Sauro said for LCCLC to fully help family violence victims in Echuca, the centre needed ongoing funding that allowed for service planning, early intervention and working collaboratively with support services.
‘‘Although we are grateful to the Victorian Government, community legal centres need ongoing funding in this space,’’ she said.
‘‘Legal assistance for victims of family violence must go beyond duty lawyer assistance for intervention order matters and assist family violence victims if the perpetrator fights against the order and takes her to hearing.
‘‘It must also be able to assist her in her related family law, child protection and financial matter so that she and her children have a real chance of escaping the violence and thriving.’’
Ms Sauro said the Federal Government was due to cut the funding of community legal centres by 30 per cent nationally as of June 2017.
‘‘This will have a devastating effect on CLCs, including the loss of at least one position at the Shepparton-based Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre,’’ she said.
‘‘Even more family violence victims will be without help at some of the most challenging times of their life.
‘‘Over 70 per cent of LCCLC casework has family violence as an element of the case.’’