NSW Government's landmark domestic and family violence investment

The NSW government is investing $484.3 million - the single biggest investment in tackling domestic and family violence (DFV) in the state's history - to assist women and children escaping domestic violence.

NSW Police respond to more than 140,000 DFV incidents annually and on average, one woman is killed every nine days in Australia by a current or former partner.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the funding would allow thousands more to be supported with housing and specialist services.

"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," Mr Perrottet 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 funding package includes $426.6 million over four years to expand the Core and Cluster program to deliver and operate around 75 extra women's refuges that support women and children escaping DFV.

Under the model, self-contained accommodation is located next to a 'core', which provides access to services including counselling, legal assistance, education, and employment support.

There is also a $52.5 million investment over four years towards the Community Housing Innovation Fund (CHIF) partnership with the community housing sector, to provide approximately 200 sustainable, social and affordable housing dwellings for women experiencing DFV.

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW chief executive Jack de Groot said the funding announcement was "very pleasing".

"There is a strong need for more accommodation for women and children who are experiencing domestic violence and this is the sort of thing that will provide significant help," he said.

"It's also important to note that, from today, women leaving violent relationships can start accessing payments of up to $5000, in a two-year trial funded by the Federal Government.

"That said, after the Commonwealth's Women's Safety Summit largely left accommodation off the agenda, it's good to see NSW leading the way on that issue.

"Having sufficient accommodation is a major safety issue in when it comes to domestic violence.

"We know that thousands of women return to violent homes because they are unable to find alternative places to live.

"There is always a need for more accommodation like this but this is a really good step in the right direction."

Brooke Simmons, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW vice-president (Social Justice), said: "The Society runs a number of the domestic violence refuges that already exist in NSW and they are always busy."

Domestic Violence NSW Chair Annabelle Daniel said the new funding announcement recognised the "urgent need" for refugee supports in rural, regional and remote areas and across NSW.

"Specialist domestic and family violence services are a lifeline for women and children fleeing abuse, and do the work of many agencies combined," Ms Daniel said.

"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."

Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor said DFV was the leading cause of homelessness for women and children.

"In 2019-20, almost 40 per cent of the people who accessed specialist homelessness services in NSW, across our cities, regional and rural communities, had experienced domestic abuse," Mrs 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."

Theresa* - a mother of two young children supported by 'The Orchard' Core and Cluster accommodation in Orange after she was subjected to severe physical abuse - said: "This support gave me the courage and trust that there was a way out of my situation with a plan that would keep me and my children safe."

*Name changed to protect her identity.

  • 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 Triple Zero (000).
This story 'Step in the right direction': Landmark domestic and family violence investment first appeared on Fairfield City Champion.