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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1393

Mr VAN MANEN (FordeGovernment Whip) (10:28): I would like to take this opportunity to talk about a terrific initiative of the Commonwealth government to improve support to women and families affected by domestic violence. I recently represented the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis, to officially launch the Logan Health Justice Partnership, a joint initiative between Logan Hospital, Women's Legal Service Queensland and the coalition government. The government is proud to support this innovative approach to reaching women experiencing domestic violence and in need of legal help.

Since the beginning of this program, the lawyers and social workers at the Women's Legal Service have collaborated to provide women with emotional and practical support alongside legal help. Last year, the service provided over 3,000 instances of free legal advice to women in the areas of family law, child support, domestic violence and child protection. The service has always focused on reaching vulnerable women, whether it be by providing assistance to women at court or visiting women in prison. Through the newly established partnership with Logan Hospital, the service will assist even more women, especially those experiencing domestic violence.

The government is committed to ensuring that every woman and child can live their lives free from violence. This is why one of the early decisions of the government was to spend an additional $100 million on the Women's Safety Package. This package has established 12 domestic violence units across the country and supported five health justice partnerships, including the one at Logan Hospital. Women's Legal Service Queensland is receiving $600,000 per year for a total commitment of $2.4 million over four years to deliver the domestic violence unit in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and to partner with Logan Hospital.

Already the health justice partnership lawyers have trained over 300 health and social workers at Logan Hospital to recognise the signs of domestic violence and refer patients in need of help. Now these workers understand how a lawyer can assist women and children experiencing domestic violence and help keep them safe by directing them to one of the many local services that we have that provide tremendous support to these women in the most difficult time of their lives.

I would like to congratulate everybody involved at Logan Hospital, Women's Legal Service Queensland and also the nurses, doctors and staff at the hospital for the tremendous work they do every single day in helping these women in difficult circumstances.