The Opposition has welcomed a State Government commitment of additional funding to combat domestic violence but said there is more to be done.

Opposition Leader Mia Davies said Labor’s announcement missed an opportunity to support established services like DVassist, an organisation offering support for regional victims of family and domestic violence.

“Likewise, we know that women who have been victims of family and domestic violence can be left with significant bills if they’ve called an ambulance but are in no position to deal with this expense,” Ms Davies said.

“We expect to see a multi-billion-dollar surplus in this year’s State Budget for the second year running and it’s a missed opportunity to fund programs and gaps in the system to make it easier for those that are seeking help to escape from these situations.

“When the Budget is delivered next week, we’ll be looking for this detail and if it’s not there we’ll be asking why.”

Ms Davies said the State Government could step in and forgive the debts of those survivors who have called an ambulance but have no capacity to pay.

“Western Australia is a wealthy state, and the Premier and his Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence are well placed to provide financial support to ensure victims are not financially ruined as a result of seeking health care.”

Shadow Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Libby Mettam said the State Government needed to operate with empathy and without such a single-minded approach.

“The State Government must ensure that regional services are bolstered, particularly given alarming research from The National Women’s Safety Alliance has found 93 percent of service providers have identified a significant increase in demand.

“Now is not the time to shirk responsibility, the State Government needs to ensure local services, such as refuges and counselling are sustainable and able to help and protect those who need it most.”

If you are experiencing domestic violence and are seeking support, contact DVassist on their confidential counselling Helpline on 1800 080 083.