Immigration and Border Protection

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April 26, 2019

Vulnerable migrant women on temporary visas will be protected under a Shorten Labor Government’s commitment to prevent, and respond to, family violence.

Women from migrant and multicultural backgrounds on temporary visas face additional barriers in reporting domestic violence, leaving violent relationships and accessing culturally competent services.

A recent Senate Inquiry into dowry abuse shed light on these challenges – including how visa status is often used as a threat to prevent a person leaving a violent relationship.

Limited access to services means, in some states, there are reports of women and children on temporary visas being turned away from shelters and legal services – and being unable to access the medical and other support they need.

A recent survey showed 750 women and children on temporary visas in Australia are currently accessing family violence services – with one quarter of these in emergency accommodation. The lack of access to transitional housing means many of these women are stuck in shelters for months on end.

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver a new 10-year National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children – with a dedicated national strategy for culturally and linguistically diverse women.

Labor will invest $62 million in Local Community Prevention and Front-Line Service Grants will also have a dedicated stream for culturally and linguistically diverse women.

Our other measures to protect vulnerable migrant women and children on temporary visas include:

  • Flexible support packages: Labor will invest $60 million in 20,000 Flexible Support Packages of up to $10,000 to support people escaping family violence in practical ways that help them the most – such as rent, furniture, transport, medication, home security and transport costs – which temporary visa holders will be able to access.
  • Tackling forced marriage: Labor will invest $13.6 million to tackle forced marriage and introduce forced marriage protection orders and a Commonwealth Forced Marriage Unit to assist victims.
  • Recognising economic abuse: Changing the law to ensure that economic abuse is a recognised form of family violence, and that dowry abuse can be one of many kinds of financial abuse.
  • Supporting women on temporary visas: Labor will review immigration and social security arrangements and invest $5 million in services and interpreters.

Early intervention and education, frontline services, emergency accommodation, and legal services will all receive a significant boost under Labor – all of which are essential to protect vulnerable migrant women against domestic violence.

These measures are part of Labor’s comprehensive suite of measures to make preventing and responding to family violence a national priority.

A Shorten Labor Government will show the national leadership required to put the prevention of family violence back at the top of the national agenda.