With instances of domestic and family violence surging amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, Australia's Federal Government has committed $1.1 billion to a package of initiatives to assist women and children leaving a situation where they are exposed to domestic and family violence. One of these initiatives is the Escaping Violence Payment.
From Tuesday, 19 October 2021, under a two-year trial, women who are leaving a violent relationship will have access to a one-off payment of up to $5,000 by accessing the Escaping Violence Payment. This payment will include up to $1,500 in a cash payment, with the remaining $3,500 to be made available for direct payments to cover the costs of goods and services, school fees, or other expenses that are necessary to re-establish a safe home. The payment is not considered reportable income, and therefore, will not impact on any income-tested payments that the victims may be receiving or entitled to.
The Minister for Women’s Safety, Anne Ruston, has announced that the payments will help to address the financial barriers that often prevent women from leaving violent relationships, stating: “We know that financial hardship as well as economic abuse, which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money, reduces women’s ability to acquire and use money and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships...The payments will assist people who need financial support to leave. We know the size of the house a woman is fleeing doesn’t matter – often she bundles the kids into the car, maybe the dog too and they leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.”
To claim the payments, women will be required to show evidence of financial stress and of domestic or family violence. To do so, women are encouraged to file a police report, protection order, or obtain a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan.
If you are concerned about your immediate safety or the safety of your children, please call 000. If you need information about safety and care arrangements for yourself and/or your children, our team of experienced family lawyers at Lander & Rogers is available to discuss your options.
Please see here for more information on applying for this one-off payment through the UnitingCare Network.
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