A south-west family violence service will receive funding as part of a $17.5 million state government package announced.
Emma House, in Warrnambool's Kepler Street, will receive $171,500 which will go into its legal program as the government bolsters the state's legal services.
Emma House principal solicitor Jacqui Joseph is the sole force behind the free duty lawyer services and has assisted 281 victim-survivors of family violence in the past financial year.
"Our service is to help people with their intervention orders in court and provide advice and advocacy in court," she said.
"We support victim-survivors of family violence in any matter by giving advice before a court matter or identifying legal matter during the intake process.
"The funding will help us provide the legal service to victim-survivors throughout the district and expand services and programs."
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Joseph said her workload had increased with the severity of family violence cases also increasing.
"Due to the isolation, clients have had the opportunity to report and in recent weeks we've seen an increased work load," she said.
"We have certain targets we have to meet to access funding and we're always over. The work is never ending.
"Family violence is getting nastier and affecting people from across all walks of life. We're certainly seeing more incidents at the extreme end of the scale."
Emma House's legal program is available to victim-survivors to access legal support and advice.
Executive officer Ruth Isbel hopes the funding will enable the service to hire someone to assist the duty lawyer program to reach more clients.
"This is very welcomed news and we are hoping to use the funding to expand our frontline services and increase access for women and children," Ms Isbel said.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call triple zero.
- Emma House is a Warrnambool-based not-for-profit service and can be contacted through 1800 EMMADV (1800 366238) or visit emmahouse.org.au/
- Safe Steps for women after hours service is available through 188 015 188.
- Brophy Family and Youth Services can be contacted on 1300 BROPHY or 03 5561 8888.
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