Victoria outspends NSW on DV three to one

·2-min read

Domestic and family violence fuelled by coronavirus restrictions could cost the NSW economy $14 million a day by 2026, amid claims of insufficient funding for support services.

The outlook is based on estimates that 106,000 women in NSW experienced new or escalating domestic violence during the first year of the pandemic, according to research commissioned by the NSW Council of Social Services.

The accrued cost of the harm from violence in 2020 is expected to reach $3.3 billion in direct economic costs and $21.3 billion in pain, suffering and premature mortality over six years.

"This research presents the horrifying picture that too many women in NSW are robbed of the basic human right to feel safe in their own homes," NCOSS chief executive Joanna Quilty said in a statement on Monday.

"The international research is clear and this research backs it up - domestic and family violence increases dramatically in the wake of large-scale disasters."

One in every six women experiences domestic violence, with Indigenous women (three in five) and women with disability (two in three) disproportionably impacted.

The cost isn't only about the direct impact on victims. The report notes $262 million in second-generation costs - the price of caring for children in violent homes.

The research says NSW's per-capita spend on domestic violence specialist support services is three times lower than Victoria's.

While NSW has pumped an extra $100 million per year into services since the start of the pandemic, Victoria's significant increases offer its support services $94.30 per capita, compared to $32.40 in NSW.

"Additional COVID one-off funding for DFV (domestic and family violence) services was welcome, but insufficient," Domestic Violence NSW interim chief executive Elise Phillips said.

"Now is the time to urgently invest in increased baseline funding for DFV support services so that victim-survivors receive timely and effective support."

Ms Phillips said more investment was needed in social housing so women and children could safely leave violent relationships.

The NSW government says addressing women's safety and domestic violence is a priority, evidenced by a dedicated minister and recent pledges that include doubling the numbers of refuges in NSW and providing safer futures.

"Victim-survivors must not only feel safe in their home, but confident that they are supported towards achieving their full potential within the community," NSW Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Minister Natalie Ward said in a statement to AAP on Monday.

This year's state budget made a $43.6 million allocation to expand the Safer Pathway program to provide a comprehensive response to support people experiencing violence.

More than 4800 women returned home to violent partners in 2021 due to a lack of affordable housing, the NCOSS report says.

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