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Urgent need for domestic violence services

June 25, 2024:

The northern beaches of Sydney have a network of incredible services that support women who are homeless, or fleeing or recovering from domestic violence: the Northern Beaches Women's Shelter, Women and Children First, the Women's Resilience Centre, Zonta International and LocalKind Northern Beaches are just a few of the not-for-profit organisations in this amazing network.

These services only exist because of their tireless community fundraising efforts. For example, the Women's Resilience Centre, which provides invaluable services for women recovering from domestic violence, gets only two per cent of its funding from government sources. Due to the lack of government funding, large amounts of time and effort must be devoted to fundraising, rather than to caring for families in crisis. Devastatingly, however, these services must turn away scores of women each week due to the severe lack of emergency accommodation in our region. That is why it is so deeply frustrating that Women and Children First, who have council approved plans to expand their emergency accommodation to triple the number of women and children it can support, has recently been knocked back for both federal and state funding.

After seven months of waiting for a response, its application for federal funding under the Safe Places emergency accommodation fund has just been rejected. The $100 million available under this fund sounds impressive, but it's spread over five years. It is just a drop in the ocean of what is needed.