In late 2021 the Government began providing anyone leaving a violent relationship access to a one-off payment of up to $5,000 to assist them in establishing a violence-free life.
The Hon Anne Ruston announced a two-year Escaping Violence Payment trial, during which a person fleeing a violent relationship can receive up to $1,500 assistance in cash, with the remainder available for goods and services, direct payments or bonds, school fees or some other form of support.
The payments are aimed at breaking the financial barriers, noting that financial hardship often stops a person from leaving.
Minister Ruston stated:
“We know that financial hardship as well as economic abuse, which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money, reduces women’s ability to acquire and use money and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships.”
The payments should therefore provide the victims of intimate partner violence (partner violence includes physical and emotional abuse, financial abuse, coercive control, etc.) who decide to leave the relationship with some financial security.
UnitingCare Australia Consortium is the service provider delivering not just the payments – UnitingCare can also provide supporting persons to engage with other appropriate services capable of supporting the victims and their children. UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little said:
“The UnitingCare Network has extensive experience supporting victim-survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence and staff would leverage that knowledge to provide a wrap-around service for women and their children.” 
Importantly, Escaping Violence Payment does not constitute a taxable or reportable income, and has no impact on any other social security payments. Persons eligible for Escaping Violence Payments are those who can show financial stress and provide evidence of domestic violence, for example, a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan, a restraining or other court order or a police report.
The payment is available to:
- An Australian citizen/permanent resident in Australia;
- People over 18 years old; and
- People who have not accessed Escaping Violence Payment in the last 12 months.
For more information about the Escape Violence Payment, visit https://unitingwa.org.au/services/escaping-violence-payment/.
Perth Family Lawyers applaud the introduction of the Escaping Violence Payment and hope it is here to stay. As Ms Little pointed out, ‘We believe that all people, especially women and their children, have the right to live freely and without fear, and this payment is an important step forward to ending violence against women and their children’.
If you, or someone you know is impacted by domestic of family violence, we encourage you to visit the above provided link.
We also urge you to contact our offices on (08) 9325 8675 to obtain timely advice as to your legal options and the best available next steps. It is critical to have a supporting legal team around you to assist you to make the best decisions for your future.
 Minister for the Department of Social Services, ‘New payment to help women escape violent relationships’ (Media Release, 17 October 2021).