Thousands more women and children escaping domestic abuse will be supported with housing and specialist services following a landmark investment by the NSW Government.
Premier Dominic Perrottet told a press conference on Tuesday that the government would be investing an additional $484.3 million in domestic violence services.
It’s the single biggest investment in tackling domestic and family violence (DVF) in the state’s history.
“Everyone has the right to live a life free from violence and abuse, a right that is far too often callously eroded by those who perpetrate domestic violence,” he said.
“Today’s commitment will help to reduce the often devastating impacts of domestic abuse by providing timely access to safe, affordable and appropriate supports and housing assistance so that women and children who bravely escape violence can begin to recover and thrive.”
The news comes after the federal government recently announced $5000 payments will be provided to women fleeing partner violence across Australia from today.
The package includes $426.6 million to be delivered over four years to expand ‘core and cluster’ accommodation services to deliver and operate around 75 extra women’s refuges that support women and children escaping DFV.
Under the core and cluster model, self-contained accommodation is located next to a ‘core’, which provides access to services including counselling, legal assistance, education, and employment support. The sites contain meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment for court appearances, communal kitchens, and playgrounds.
It also includes $52.5 million over four years which will go towards the Community Housing Innovation Fund partnership with the community housing sector, to provide approximately 200 sustainable, social and affordable housing dwellings for women experiencing DFV.
$5.2 million over four years will be spent on a trial in two districts to provide dedicated supports for accompanied children and young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, with a focus on children and young people impacted by DFV.
NSW Police respond to more than 140,000 DFV incidents annually and, tragically, on average, one woman is killed every nine days in Australia by a current or former partner.
Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said DFV is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children, illustrating the high demand for these critical services.
“In 2019-20, almost 40% of the people who accessed specialist homelessness services in NSW, across our cities, regional and rural communities, had experienced domestic abuse,” Taylor said.
“One of the most important things we can do in government is to ensure that when a victim-survivor makes the courageous decision to leave a violent home — a time when she actually faces the greatest risk — that there’s a secure, supportive environment waiting to help her.”
Chair of Domestic Violence NSW, Annabelle Daniel, welcomed the government’s major investment, and acknowledged all the frontline workers and victim-survivors who have been advocating for greater availability of these crucial services.
“We are pleased to see this new funding announcement recognising the urgent need for refuge supports in rural, regional and remote areas and across NSW,” Daniel said.
“Specialist domestic and family violence services are a lifeline for women and children fleeing abuse and do the work of many agencies combined. We know the numbers of people in need being turned away are continuously increasing due to lack of space. When we raise awareness about domestic and family violence, women raise their hands for help.”
For confidential advice, support and referrals, contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), The NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 65 64 63), NSW Rape Crisis (1800 424 017) or Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491). In an emergency, call 000.