HUNTER domestic violence services have welcomed a $21.6 million boost to frontline support, saying it's a step in the right direction but they need more help to manage the growing problem.
The investment comprises $12.8 million from the state government and an $8.8 million slice of the $150 million federal government package announced at the start of the pandemic.
NSW Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said COVID-19 had potentially increased the risk of abuse in already violent homes.
"Strict health orders in recent weeks have told people to stay home to help slow the spread of COVID-19," he said.
"But domestic violence victims don't have a safe home to begin with, so more have sought assistance and are presenting with more complex needs." He said the package would "save lives".
It's split into five areas: frontline support services; escaping violent homes, including more funding for the 84 women's refuges for additional staff, more training and basic supports like food vouchers; staying safe at home; holding perpetrators to account; plus raising awareness.
Nova for Women and Children chief executive officer Kelly Hansen and Jenny's Place corporate partnerships specialist Saibre Johnstone welcomed the investment, but said they wanted more details.
Ms Hansen said women still living with abusive partners spending more time at home were finding it more difficult to reach out for help.
She said the woman allegedly murdered by her husband in Sydney last week was on a student visa.
"Our organisation is experiencing a demand for assistance from women on temporary visas who are escaping domestic and family violence," she said.
"There is no financial assistance for women in this category and specialist homelessness services are trying to provide accommodation and support, but it is extremely difficult and we often are limited to the number we can assist. This is not recognised in the funding."
If the package was "combined with affordable and long-term housing it would be extremely effective".
"Currently with the lack of housing, women and children will still be at risk of homelessness and unsafe after going through the trauma of domestic and family violence and finally escaping abuse."
Jenny's Place currently receives state government funding for its accommodation and outreach only.
Ms Johnstone said she'd hoped the announced "funding for frontline specialist domestic violence services to respond to increasing demand and complexity of cases" would apply to the organisation's domestic violence resource centre, a specialist service providing long-term support including referrals and advocacy.
It has been surviving on donations since its sponsorship ran out last September.
A Department of Communities and Justice spokesman said Jenny's Place had been allocated emergency funding in the package, but further money was "not expected to be provided to the resource centre".
The department has provided a $25,000 grant to "hire an external consultant to work with the organisation on a corporate sponsorship package".
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