More than 200 children across the western suburbs at risk of family violence will have access to counselling over the coming year.
Women’s Health West will get $108,000 from the 2015-16 state government budget, funding a full-time children’s counsellor to work alongside its three existing part-time counsellors.
Community health provider cohealth, another agency serving areas of greatest need across the state, will get about $100,000 from the budget.
WHW chief executive Robyn Gregory said this would ensure that more than 200 children would be able to use the service each year.
“Our three part-timers see about 150 children a year; a full-time counsellor will see an additional 56,” Dr Gregory said.
Cohealth chief executive Lyn Morgain said increasing funding for counselling services was one of 21 recommendations it had made to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
“The brave women who came together to help form our submission have experienced multiple forms of abuse – not just physical – and had a lot to say about how we can do better to look after their health needs,” she said.
“The issue of violence occurring in relationships of any form is a health issue, not just a legal, police or court one.
Cohealth has counselling services in Braybrook, Footscray and Werribee.
Sunshine woman Sally, who receives cohealth support, said funding would make life easier for many people. “The trauma doesn’t stop once the violence has ended,” she said.
Another Cohealth client, Catherine, of Footscray, said it took seven years to get her life back on track after taking out a lifetime restraining order against her violent husband.