THE State’s Sexual Violence Helpline will receive an additional $923,701 a year funding boost if NSW Labor wins Government in March 2023, a move welcomed by Lismore MP Janelle Saffin.
Ms Saffin says NSW Labor’s commitment to providing this extra core funding in Government will cover the wages of an additional 25 counsellors for the 24/7 specialist counselling service for anyone who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault, family or domestic violence.
This is on top of a one-off promised funding injection of $467,679 to improve access to sexual violence services in priority populations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disability, migrant and refugee women, and people from the LGBTIQA+ community.
NSW Labor’s dual commitment comes as demand for the helpline is rising, with sexual assault crime rates showing a 4.2-per cent upward trend in the five years to March this year, according to Ms Saffin.
In 2021, there was a 27-per cent increase in the number of calls, with the helpline logging 14,089 calls and online contacts.
However, due to a lack of funding, almost one in three calls (29 per cent) went unanswered.
Ms Saffin welcomed the joint announcement by NSW Deputy Opposition Leader Prue Car and NSW Shadow Minister for Women Jodie Harrison.
She also took the opportunity to wish her Parliamentary colleague Ms Car all the best for her treatment for kidney cancer.