Red Cross welcomes the federal government’s $10 million investment in dedicated support for people on temporary visas who are experiencing domestic and family violence. This includes $6.5 million to Red Cross to provide financial assistance to this group, as an extension of the current nationwide emergency relief program.
Under the year-long pilot, working alongside family and domestic violence agencies, Red Cross will provide up to $3000 in financial assistance to those eligible, to help cover expenses such as accommodation, food, and medical care. The pilot will also support referrals and, where specialist agencies are unable to help, provide short-term casework support.
Australian Red Cross Head of Migration Support Programs, Vicki Mau, said: “The pandemic has put significant pressures on people with temporary visas, with many losing their jobs and unable to access social services and sustainable safety nets like Centrelink and Medicare.
“We welcome this Australian government investment as we know people on temporary visas face greater barriers in seeking help to escape violence.
“We have also seen an increase in presentations of people at risk of or experiencing family violence, from 2% in March 2020 to 10% in September 2020.
“We look forward to working with the family and domestic violence sector to design and implement the program. We want to ensure that no matter what a person’s visa status they are able to access help and support when needed.”
Throughout the pandemic, Red Cross support – funded through donations, State, Territory and Federal governments – has helped 130,000 people on temporary visas, through emergency relief payments, food relief and casework support.
This trial program is expected to help over 1225 people on temporary visas over the 12-month trial period. The trial will run from April 2021, with referrals from May 2021.
Existing emergency relief support to people on temporary visas who meet the current eligibility criteria continues to be available at www.redcross.org.au/emergencyrelief.