Domestic and family violence victim-survivors are set to benefit from further frontline support after funding contributions from the State and Federal Government.
Gunnedah Family Support (GFS) and Tamworth Family Support Services (TFSS) will each use a one off NSW Women Infrastructure Grant to purchase a property that will be used to provide transition accommodation for women and children who have been impacted by domestic and or family violence.
The funding under the COVID-19 Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Infrastructure Grant Program has allowed for 45 service providers to purchase additional crisis accommodation dwellings, as well as renovate current crisis accommodation shelters.
“Gunnedah has seen a steady increase in the reported rates of domestic violence. It is particularly concerning that these rates are more than double the state average” said Gunnedah Family Support Manager Vanessa Hodges Schembri.
“By funding the purchase of this property, Gunnedah Family Support will be able to provide specialist case management support to families who need targeted assistance to address the damage done by being exposed to domestic or family violence” she said.
Tamworth Family Support Services Manager Lynda Townsend said “the funding is a terrific step forward for us”.
“The dwelling that we are currently seeking to purchase is located within very close proximity to the current Women’s and Children’s Refuge, and part of the infrastructure grant will be comprehensive security installations around the property” said Ms Townsend.
The dwelling TFSS buy will accommodate for larger families, and singles in crisis if need be.
“We are looking for a residence that will accommodate larger families fleeing violence. Women who may have four plus children, as it is quite challenging to house larger families in the refuge as the room sizes are not very supportive of larger families” she said.
Delia Donovan, CEO of Domestic Violence NSW, said the funding will help vulnerable people across the state who can face extra barriers when escaping unsafe homes.
“I support this funding, and the tireless work of these 45 providers who are making a big difference to families in crisis,” Ms Donovan said.
“This program is going to help improve so many frontline services across a range of works like building or purchasing more accommodation, replacing playground equipment for kids, security-related works, upgrading counselling rooms, and enhancing amenities to support vulnerable women and children.”
Lynda Townsend said funding in the domestic and family violence sector is always going to be required.
“Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to fix this heinous crime that happens in our community”.
“It’s very important both State and Federal Government continue to understand the impacts domestic violence has, and moving forward, a great deal of investment is needed to change the future for a lot of young children who are being exposed to this, and to give them a future free of violence”.