My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Community Services, and it is in relation to the No to Violence program that is run in the south-west of Victoria. I have spoken in this place on numerous occasions about the need for appropriate funding for programs to tackle this extremely important issue.
The incidence of family violence in Victoria is increasing at a high rate, with Chief Commissioner of Police Ken Lay reporting that around 40 per cent of police work is family violence related and 65 per cent of that is responding to repeat offenders. In the past financial year there were 1148 incidents of family violence in south-western Victoria. I think it is incredibly important that we make sure that the south-western No to Violence program is fully supported.
It is a state-funded program, and unfortunately there are only 27 places in the program — so there are 1148 incidents of family violence but only 27 places in the No to Violence program. The program which is run by Brophy Family and Youth Services. Its base is in Warrnambool, but it has offices in Portland and other places as well.
Due to the fact that there has been a significant increase in reported family violence in the south-west and there are only 27 places available, there are long waiting lists of people who have been referred to the service. I have been talking to people who work in the area, and they are saying this is totally unacceptable, because while men are waiting they are losing their motivation to address their issues and change their attitudes.
Statewide, as I understand it, there is government funding available to treat 2500 family violence offenders each year.
One-third of offenders in Victoria are referred by police to family violence programs. The police are also saying that that is not nearly enough. When we combine these referrals with those of other organisations and departments that refer people to these programs, such as the courts through court orders, we find that less than 20 per cent of offending men are in the programs.
I ask the minister to urgently consider increasing funding to the No to Violence program in the south-west so it can work with family violence offenders and protect those vulnerable people in our community who are subjected to family violence.