The Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic) welcomed the Victorian Government’s strong ongoing commitment to preventing and ending family violence, reinforced today through an investment of $1.9 billion in family violence initiatives.

“Family violence has a devastating impact on the lives of too many young Victorians”, said YACVic CEO Georgie Ferrari. “It is a major cause of youth homelessness. It disrupts children’s education, and causes trauma that can take years to heal. Many young people who end up in our youth justice centres have experienced violence in the home.”

YACVic welcomed the Victorian Government’s funding of interventions to address family violence, which include the establishment of Support and Safety Hubs in 17 areas, $133.2M in housing assistance for victims of violence, $50.8M over four years for prevention, and investment in strengthening the family violence workforce. The Victorian Government will also fund counselling and therapeutic interventions for another 3,500 children who have experienced family violence.  

Education was another key item in this year’s state budget, with new investments including a $7.9M two-year extension of the Navigator program in its current locations, to provide intensive support to secondary-age students who are disengaged from school. Other commitments include $50.7M over four years to improve performance in 350 of Victoria’s most disadvantaged schools, and $685M for school infrastructure.

“The Victorian Government has recognised education as critical to young people’s wellbeing and community connectedness, as well as their future employment prospects,” Ms Ferrari noted. “We also welcome the extension of the Student Mentoring Program - $1.6M over two years – and the funding of 25 Apprentice Support Officers to help young apprenticeships stay successfully engaged in their training and work.”

The state budget contained welcome commitments to strengthen young people’s engagement in their local communities, with new funding to continue the YACVic Rural initiative and the Regional Presence Project at the Centre for Multicultural Youth.  

“There are many great things about living and working in rural Victoria,” Ms Ferrari said. “But isolation and service shortages create real problems for young people. The Victorian Government recognises this. This new funding for YACVic Rural will help more young people to participate in their rural communities, build new skills and connections, and have their contributions celebrated and their voices heard.”

Also welcome were the announcements of continued four-year funding for the Koorie Youth Council and $1.8M over two years for the Aboriginal Youth Mentoring Program.

“Aboriginal young people need a voice in government decisions and opportunities to get together, express themselves, build skills and strengthen their communities,” Ms Ferrari said.  “We are proud to work closely with the Koorie Youth Council, and to support this valuable mentoring initiative.”

Also welcome was the commitment of a further $10M in NDIS Transition Support Packages, which will help young people with disabilities prepare for the transition to the NDIS, and new funding for Futures for Young Adults packages to provide essential supports and skills development for young people with disabilities. 

Meanwhile, the state budget includes substantial investments in the building of a new youth justice centre and the improvement of security at the existing centres.

“We welcome the budget’s commitment of $1.6M over two years for the Fast Track Remand Court,” Ms Ferrari said. “For too long, the majority of young people held in youth justice centres were remandees. And we trust the 42 new youth specialist officers within Victoria Police will help deliver better outcomes for young people and their communities. However, in the future we’ll be looking for strong investment in preventing crime and diverting young people away from crime. We welcomed the Victorian Government’s appointment of an expert review into the youth justice system, which will inform future reforms in this space.”

For further comment: Georgie Ferrari, CEO Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, 0411 484 428