Monday, 03 July 2023
Media release

Increasing financial support for visa holders experiencing violence

Joint media release with the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP 

The Albanese Labor Government is easing financial insecurity for temporary visa holders leaving a violent relationship.

We don’t want any person experiencing violence to have to choose between their safety or financial security and we know those on temporary visas can often face additional barriers to escaping family and domestic violence.

From today the Government will boost the financial assistance available to temporary visa holders experiencing family and domestic violence from the current $3000 to $5000.

The Government has committed $4.4 million over two years for the increase which is expected to assist up to 2000 people nationally.

The funding is in addition to the $38.2 million committed to extend the Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot and Escaping Violence Payment trial to 31 January 2025.

The boost aligns the financial assistance available for temporary visa holders to that received by Australian Citizens under the Escaping Violence Payment trial.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the Government had a zero tolerance policy to family and domestic violence.

“Along with states and territories we have committed to ending violence against women and children in a generation,” Minister Rishworth said.

“The status of your visa should not determine the payment you receive to support you in leaving a violent situation.

“Whether you are an Australian citizen or living here on a temporary visa, we want to support you as you take steps to safety. No one should have to choose between their safety or their financial security.”

The Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot commenced in April 2021 and provides eligible temporary visa holders experiencing family and domestic violence with financial assistance packages for goods and services and access to legal advice for migration and family law.

Since the Pilot’s commencement more than $8 million in financial assistance has been provided with more than 2900 applications received.

A 2021 study by Monash University indicated that one in three migrant and refugee women had experienced some form of family and domestic violence, with temporary visa holders consistently reporting proportionately higher levels of family and domestic violence, including controlling behaviours.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles said that temporary visa holders often faced greater barriers in escaping family and domestic violence due to their visa status.

“We know many migrant women who are experiencing violence by an abusive partner may not have a support network here in Australia, and in some cases their abuser may be one of the few people they know,” Minister Giles said.

“These changes will bring the Payment in line with community expectations and ensure that temporary visa holders escaping family and domestic violence aren’t treated differently just because of their visa status.”

Australian Red Cross delivers the financial assistance packages under the Pilot and nine Women’s and Community Legal Centres across Australia provide legal advice and support to clients.

Director of Australian Programs at Australian Red Cross, Vicki Mau, welcomed the increase to the financial assistance available.

“People on temporary visas can experience very specific challenges and vulnerabilities, including significant barriers when seeking support due to language, limited access to information, fear of deportation and lack of familiarity with the local legal and support systems,” Ms Mau said.

“Increased financial support is an essential step towards addressing their immediate needs and ensuring their safety and wellbeing.”

More information on the Pilot can be found on the Australian Red Cross website.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family, domestic or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT 24 hours, seven days a week on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT website.

If you are concerned about your behaviour or use of violence, you can contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or visit the No to Violence website.