Australia

Government to put $20 million into loan program for domestic violence survivors

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston. Source: AAP

The federal government says it is putting $20 million into a no-interest loan scheme for women fleeing domestic violence to help them get their lives back on track.

The federal government will inject $20 million into a no-interest loan program to help women experiencing domestic violence buy basic goods.

Loans of up to $2,000 would be available through Good Shepherd Microfinance's No Interest Loan Scheme, Social Services Minister Anne Ruston announced on Sunday.

"Women leaving violence often face financial hardship and we hope these loans go some way to help them meet the costs of the basics," she said.

The loans could go towards furniture, whitegoods, car registration, rental bonds and bill payments.

Senator Ruston said with Sunday marking International Women's Day, it was important for Australians to reflect on what they could to stop family violence.

"We should be ashamed of ourselves in Australia that we have the kind of domestic violence perpetration that we're seeing," she told Sky News.

"Until we change people's behaviour, we're just going to be responding to domestic violence and we have to start preventing it."

Sunday's announcement included giving women leaving abusive relationships individual financial counsellors to help them get back on track.

The government would also be providing $2.8 million over two years for local support services in each state and territory, including shelters and crisis help.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese repeated his calls for a national summit on domestic violence.

"We need to make sure that there's a comprehensive plan," he told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

"It does require finance. But it also requires listening to the experts."

Minister for Women Marise Payne pointed to the recent murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children - Aaliyah, Laianah, and Trey - as a sign Australia had to keep working to stop domestic violence.

"It is our duty as a modern society to respect one another, and to foster a culture in which Australian men grow up respecting the women in their lives," Senator Payne said.

The announcement was made on the eve of the funeral for Hannah Clarke and her three children - Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey.

They were killed nearly three weeks ago when the children's father and Ms Clarke's estranged husband set fire to them in their car in Brisbane before killing himself.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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