Domestic violence victim-survivors, Aboriginal Australians and people who’ve lost their jobs and homes as a result of COVID-19 will be among those to benefit from a Commonwealth funding boost of more than $15.6 million for NSW’s legal assistance sector.

NSW Nationals Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said local free legal services will receive a funding boost to help support disadvantaged locals impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID-19 has placed immense pressure on our families and households,” Mr Singh said.

“Many locals are facing job losses, tenancy issues, financial insecurity and the increasing risk of violence behind closed doors.

“This investment will help meet the increased demand seen by our hardworking legal assistance services. It will ensure vulnerable members of our community know their rights and get the free legal advice they need to get back on their feet.”

More than 40 per cent of this funding will be directed towards frontline services helping people experiencing domestic and family violence.

It has been a particularly tough time for people in dangerous homes, with victims isolated alongside their abusers due to COVID-19. In the past nine weeks alone five women and one man have been tragically killed in domestic violence incidents across NSW. We all have a part to play in tackling this epidemic. This funding will help victim-survivors get the advice they need to ensure perpetrators are held to account, support them in escaping violent households and ultimately help us save lives.

The funding package will also enable the legal assistance sector to deliver more services remotely and to reach more people across NSW. A total of $2.35 million has been allocated to help legal assistance services transition to greater virtual service delivery.