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Urgent need for more domestic violence support

May 16, 2024

This week's budget was a missed opportunity to roll out the Staying Home Leaving Violence program nationally. However, I do commend the New South Wales government's decision to extend the program throughout New South Wales. This is incredibly welcome, and I thank them on behalf of women across the state for acting so decisively. There is now 12 years of evidence from pilot programs that the Staying Home Leaving Violence program is safe and successful. The program partners with police to assess and ensure the home will be safe for women and children. Women and Children First, an organisation that runs a shelter on the northern beaches, is funded to support 208 women. But they fundraise constantly, and last year they supported more than 800 women. Even still, they must turn away at least 10 women and their kids each week. This is a major problem that needs a solution.

Organisations that are active in my electorate of Mackellar have been advocating for this program to be brought to the Northern Beaches for years. As the CEO of Women and Children First put it:
We should not be rewarding perpetrators of violence—by allowing them to stay in the family home, while victims are uprooted and forced to find new accommodation and new schools.

The Staying Home Leaving Violence program is a practical and immediate way to make a difference in the lives of people affected by domestic violence.