$120,000 lifeline for domestic violence victims
A GENEROUS benefactor's donation of $120,000 will ensure our region's female domestic violence victims will continue receiving vital and free phone support from the Women's Legal Service Queensland helpline for the coming months.
WLSQ answers calls for legal support from thousands of regional and rural women each year but a major funding shortfall meant it was on the verge of cutting back the service this month.
The helpline operates six hours a day, five days a week.
Calls for an extra $300,000 in State Government funding fell on deaf ears so the organisation turned to a range of fund-raising initiatives including setting up a crowd-funding page to find the money it needed.
The Freemasons of Queensland stepped forward, offering WLSQ $120,000 from its Hand Heart Pocket charity arm.
Domestic violence survivor Hana Nataprawira said she would not have been able to start a new violence free life without WLSQ's support.
"Free services like this are crucial for women of all ages as it helps them to break free from the cycle they may find themselves in and to change their life for the better," Ms Nataprawira said.
"I am so fortunate to have had the support of WLSQ and can't begin to imagine the gap that will be left if the service is cut long-term."
WLSQ CEO Angela Lynch said the money would tide the organisation over until "longer-term government funding can be secured".
"We are immensely grateful to Hand Heart Pocket for stepping in and providing critical assistance while we look to secure additional long-term Government funding for this essential service," she said.
"Women's Legal Service provides free legal and welfare support to Queensland women and their children affected by domestic violence and, without ongoing funding, 13,000 calls for help per year would go unanswered."
Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said his organisation felt it had no choice but to dig deep for Queensland women in domestic and other violence crisis.
"With domestic violence rates at an all-time high, it is more important than ever that the organisations providing front-line support can continue to keep up with the demand," Mr Mark said.
Helping to announce the funding on Monday morning, former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce said the WLSQ legal helpline was vital for regional and rural Queenslanders.
"Women and children across the state deserve the right to be supported in the most difficult of circumstances," Ms Bryce said.
"There's no denying that this is a complex issue but, if we are to make a tangible difference for Queenslanders, we must support organisations such as the Women's Legal Service that provide vital legal information and assistance to thousands of women and children each year."
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath told NewsRegional on June 9 that WLSQ already received about $1.25 million a year from state coffers.
She said many "worthy" domestic violence organisations competed for government funds and each had to go through a "rigorous" process to receive money.
*WLSQ's legal helpline is 1800 957 957. For 24-hour support in Queensland phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811, MensLine on 1800 600 636 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.