IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD FOR NEW WOMEN’S REFUGES

Women and children escaping domestic and family violence will soon receive greater support, with expressions of interest opening next week for funding to set up and operate the first new model of women’s refuges in NSW.

Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Natalie Ward said the NSW Government’s $426 million commitment over four years to establish new refuges is the single largest investment in the state’s history to address domestic abuse.

“No one should live their life in fear, but all too often women stay in violent relationships because they feel they have nowhere to go,” Mrs Ward said.

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“Our record investment shows we are sending a strong message that enough is enough. Women who make the courageous decision to leave an abusive partner can feel secure knowing they will have a safe haven to go to where they can begin rebuilding their lives.

“It’s critical those victim-survivors, and their children, have access to a safe environment, with important resources close at hand.”

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said everyone has a right to live a life free from violence and abuse.

“This landmark investment will ensure that when a victim-survivor makes the courageous decision to leave a violent home, there is a secure and supportive environment waiting to help them,” Mrs Taylor said.

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Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the refuges will offer access to vital services on site, such as counselling, legal and employment support.

“This will give women, young people and children the privacy to heal in a secure setting with the professional services they need to overcome trauma,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.

“These sites are a safe haven which may contain facilities like meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment for court appearances, communal kitchens and playgrounds.”

Trial refuges in Orange and Griffith have successfully helped dozens of women and children rebuild their lives since opening in 2020.

Next week, Minister Ward will host a roundtable with domestic violence advocacy groups, specialist homelessness services and peak bodies to discuss the roll out. Expressions of interest will also open to apply for the first of three rounds of funding.