For women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, lockdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic have presented an additional barrier to seeking help, another layer of control to be used by perpetrators and further strain on service providers – particularly women’s shelters.

In partnership with Australian Communities Foundation, the Paul Ramsay Foundation is providing emergency ‘surge’ funding to support small, locally-based women’s shelters in Victoria and NSW impacted by the extended lockdowns. This project is being operated through a working group which includes Domestic Violence NSW and Safe and Equal (formerly DV Vic and DVRCV).

These rapid grants are designed to help increase social capital and resilience in communities, especially among women and children experiencing domestic and family violence. Allocated through an open tender, the grants will support 27 organisations running 37 shelters, with a total funding allocation of approximately $1 million.

This support builds on from surge funding provided to 33 women’s shelters across Australia in mid-2020 as the pandemic took hold. Insights from partners in that project informed our report Shelter from the storm: Learning from the rise in domestic and family violence during COVID-19, with participating shelters providing a clear sense of the gaps in their funding and the real-world impact on their services.

During and after emergency situations, the incidence and prevalence of domestic and family violence increases. Under lockdown conditions, the provision of services to women and children has been constrained and disrupted. Women’s shelters provide essential emergency services to vulnerable women and children who would otherwise be trapped in abusive households or homeless.

The Paul Ramsay Foundation is dedicated to helping break cycles of disadvantage in Australia. We work with a broad range of partners across various sectors who share this purpose.

The latest funding provided by the Foundation has been deliberately targeted to smaller not-for-profit organisations, in particular women-run, community-embedded and trauma-informed shelters that focused on women and children.

While philanthropy has an important role to play in developing new approaches and building better off-ramps from the vicious cycles of disadvantage generated by family and domestic violence, we recognise that ultimately the capacity of these services needs to grow.

We look forward to sharing further details on our work in this area in 2022.

Media contact: Pia Akerman 0412 346 746