Queenslanders are showing their true spirit this Christmas with thousands of donations flooding in to bring some joy to women and children in refuges this year.
Donating gifts from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to the Rizeup Christmas Appeal today, the Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman announced a $2 million grants program to assist sexual, domestic and family violence service providers.
“During the pandemic, Queenslanders stayed home to protect themselves from COVID-19, yet for so many home is not a safe space,” Ms Fentiman said.
“As we started to recover from COVID-19 there was unprecedented demand on our domestic and family violence (DFV) services, many of which had to implement new measures to help women and children.
“Sadly, almost one in 10 women in a relationship experienced domestic violence during the pandemic, with two-thirds saying it started or became worse.
“Service providers have told me how they worked around social distancing measures to continue to deliver counselling and support over the phone, which I’ve heard worked really well, particularly for teenage clients who can be hard to engage with.
“These kinds of changes are some of the things service providers are keen to continue doing and these grants will help them do just that.”
Chief Executive Officer and Founder of RizeUp Nicolle Edwards said the charitable organisation worked tirelessly all year round with specialist domestic and family violence services to support families fleeing violent households.
“This year we have seen an increase of 27% by specialist services seeking our support (August 2020) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Edwards said.
“The need and complexity of the requests have also increased.
“Domestic violence hasn’t stopped because of the pandemic – and neither have we.
“We adapted our service delivery to ensure the needs of these courageous families continue to be met.
“The kindness and generosity of Queenslanders we have seen has been remarkable. We have 15,000 gifts that will be distributed between now and Christmas Eve to reach the many families in need.”
Ms Fentiman said grants will be between $50,000 and $150,000 to support one-off innovations to ease the pressure on the DFV sector following unprecedented demand due to the pandemic.
“Our fantastic DFV services stepped up during COVID-19 to meet the increasing need for victim support and we need to continue to support them to continue to assist Queensland women and families,” she said.
“These grants will give a welcomed boost to organisations such as neighbourhood centres, community legal services, local councils and DFV service providers to help them with innovations like transferring a counselling program to an online format or taking on temporary staff to meet short-term demand for services.
“Grants can also be used to purchase technology, to produce resources, video production or delivering a temporary program related to COVID.
“We hope to see applications from right across the State and I would encourage any organisation involved in sexual and domestic and family violence support to apply.
“During COVID-19, the Commonwealth worked with all states to provide additional funding and we have moved quickly to ensure several existing frontline DFV services received immediate support.
“This is the first time sexual, domestic and family violence service providers can apply for funding to help them respond to the impacts from the pandemic.”
The $2 million in grant funding comes on top of $7.5 million in Queensland Government funding delivered to service providers at the start of the pandemic and is part of the $25.64 million for Queensland from the Commonwealth Government.
Applications are open until 28 February 2021.
For more information on how to apply visit www.qld.gov.au/notnownotevertogether
For more information on the RizeUp Christmas Appeal visit www.rizeup.com.au
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice,
Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman