In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tasmanian Government announced specific family violence funding to address a range of issues associated with family violence. This included funding specifically allocated to deliver Flexible Support Packages to enhance the safety and wellbeing of people affected by family violence.
Flexible Support Packages are designed to contribute to a holistic response to people experiencing family violence by providing practical supports to enhance safety and wellbeing when leaving an abusive relationship.
Family violence risk assessment and safety planning are key components of the program, to assist in addressing a victim-survivor’s risk and safety needs.
To be eligible a victim-survivor must meet the following criteria
- has experienced family violence as defined in the Family Violence Act 2004
- is planning to leave their current spouse or partner (the perpetrator of abuse) or have left their spouse or partner within the last 12 months
- has no intention of reconciling with the perpetrator of the abuse
Priority will be given to
- victim-survivors and their children at risk of experiencing family violence
- victim-survivors whose safety and security needs can reasonably be met through a FSP
- victim-survivors experiencing financial hardship
Support Package Uses
The Flexible Support Package Program aims to complement existing practical resources and support, and is not intended to replace them.
Packages can be applied for to support victims and their children to cover the following types of expenses
- Relocation costs or bond.
- Bills including utilities.
- Medical supplies.
- Medication not covered by Medicare or the PBS.
- Medical appointment gaps not covered by Medicare, including dental.
- White goods.
- Mobile phone and credit.
- Educational equipment.
This is not an exhaustive list, and applications should be tailored to the needs of the victim-survivor and their children.
Transitional accommodation costs can be sought, however other avenues for support need to be exhausted prior to making such a request, such as shelter accommodation or the rapid rehousing scheme.
Requests for property security upgrades need to be submitted to the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program.
Access to the program
Government or non-government services (the Service Provider) can submit an application on behalf of a client after they have undertaken a family violence risk assessment and created a safety plan.
Applications will be assessed on a case by case basis by the Integrated Case Coordination Committees, and the Safe at Home Coordination Unit will assess those applications where an applicant has not yet reported to police.
Applications may be approved in full, in part or declined, based on an assessment of risk and safety needs of the client to ensure that the objectives of the Program are achieved within the funding available. The maximum grant is $6,000.00.
Flexible Support Packages (FSP) were made available from 27 April 2020. An application form is available by contacting the Safe at Home Coordination Unit at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Service Provider will receive a confirmation email from Safe at Home within 7-10 working days advising of the outcome of the application.
The Service Provider can purchase the approved items and invoice the Safe at Home Coordination Unit for total expenditure by providing receipts.
The Service Provider submits an invoice to the Safe at Home Coordination Unit to facilitate the transfer of funds to the Service Provider at the earliest opportunity. Service Providers must provide receipts for expenditure, and return any unspent money to the Safe at Home Coordination Unit, to be re-allocated to the FSP program.
Reimbursement will not be provided for unapproved expenditure, or previous expenditure prior to an FSP application being submitted.
The use of the FSP must represent the most cost-effective, timely and appropriate response to meet the risk and safety needs of the victim-survivor and their children.
Frequently Asked Questions
Leaving an abusive relationship
To be eligible for a FSP, a victim-survivor must have no intention of reconciling with the perpetrator of the abuse. This criteria can be satisfied through effective safety planning with the victim-survivor to mitigate the risk the perpetrator poses and ascertaining the victim-survivor’s intentions regarding the future of the relationship. However, victim-survivors may change their mind about reconciliation as leaving an abusive relationship is incredibly difficult. There is no obligation on the victim-survivor or Service Provider to repay the cost of an approved FSP if it has been spent and the parties reconcile.
If a contribution is requested towards bond, there is no obligation on the victim-survivor to return the bond when they move to another property. However, it is incumbent on the Service Provider to use their best endeavours to ensure bond is applied for in appropriate circumstances and for the purpose of enhancing the wellbeing and safety of the victim-survivor and their children.
Fixed amounts can be requested based on the Medicare costs or by using a quote for service. If receipts are not available, please contact the Senior Consultant – Safe at Home.
There may be occasions where the item ordered is not fit for purpose and needs to be returned. The Service Provider assisting the victim-survivor may support such returns. However a FSP must not be used to purchase items with the aim of returning them for a financial payment.
On a case by case basis, vet or kennel costs could be incorporated in a FSP application if it enhances the safety and wellbeing of the victim-survivor and their children. An additional allocation may be required if the animal is not collected from the kennel.
One FSP application can be submitted per victim-survivor. In extenuating circumstances, a second application may be considered. The Service Provider must outline the reasons for a second application.
Gift cards or vouchers
Gift cards or vouchers can be used to assist with the purchase of groceries, clothing or other items. However, to reduce the risk of FSPs being misused, the total value of a single card will be limited. The preferred option is to order items online for delivery at the home of the victim-survivor.