Funds for survivors to break shackles of modern slavery
Human trafficking support services will get a $24 million boost as the government works to crack down on modern slavery.
The federal budget allocation will help the services to better meet the needs of victim-survivors by increasing the minimum support time from 45 days to 90, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said.
The four-year funding package will also ensure financial support for visa holders who cannot access social welfare payments, and enable check-ups on people who have left the program at three, six and 12 months.
The funding provides a pilot program allowing direct referrals to the support program from community providers without engaging federal police will also be created next year.
The pilot, to be established next year and last for up to 18 months, is designed to help people come forward with some victims hesitant to get police involved. It is estimated four out of every five victim-survivors go undetected.
About 1900 people in Australia are affected by human trafficking and modern slavery, which includes forced marriage.
More than 180 people have received support through the program this financial year, which marks a 36 per cent increase in referrals.
The majority are women and girls.
"Our focus is the recovery for victim-survivors, and helping them achieve the best possible outcomes, including physical and mental health, education, employment, and social connection," Ms Rishworth said.
"We want to empower victim-survivors of human trafficking and ensure their futures are not defined by their past trauma."
The support program is delivered by the Australian Red Cross, whose director Vicki Mau said the funding and additional referral pathway would enable more people to get help.
"We know that access to support empowers victim-survivors to rebuild their lives," she said.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Fullstop Australia 1800 385 578
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)
National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028