Thousands more women and children escaping domestic abuse will be supported with housing and specialist services following a landmark investment by the NSW Nationals in the state government.
The government will invest an additional $484.3 million – the single biggest investment in tackling domestic and family violence (DFV) in the state’s history.
The package includes:
$426.6 million over four years to expand Core and Cluster 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.
- $52.5 million 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.
- $5.2 million over four years, for 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.
Nationals 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 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.”
In 2019-20, specialist homelessness services supported more than 8,200 children in families experiencing domestic violence. This trial will help support another 3,200 children.
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. 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,” Ms Daniel said.
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).