Mon. May 20th, 2024

A safe place for dignity and healing has been announced for Tamworth’s victim survivors of domestic and family violence, with a new $7 million state of the art emergency accommodation facility about to break ground.

The project is a partnership between Housing Plus, Tamworth Family Support Services (TFSS) and the NSW Government to build and operate a ‘Core and Cluster’ crises accommodation, to provide women and children escaping domestic and family violence with safe, secure and private accommodation to support their recovery process.

“This new ‘Core and Cluster’ refuge is going to be an absolute game changer for women and children who are experiencing family and domestic violence in our region,” said Belinda Kotris, Tamworth Family Support Services Chief Executive Officer.

The current shared-living refuge in Tamworth has been keeping families safe for over 30 years. Built at a time when it was thought children were not impacted by domestic violence, research now debunks this theory, and this will be reflected in the new accommodation.

“The impact of domestic violence on children is significant. It’s long lasting. So, to be able to have somewhere they have their own space.” said Ms Kotris.

“The moment, all the families are in a five-bedroom, they’re all in one room.”

“We have five women and 15 kids in our existing refuge, and when you think about it, that’s not conducive for trauma healing.”

The Design

After starting down this track over a year ago, Housing Plus is expecting the Development Application approval next week, with a design that will meet the needs of the women and children, and that is culturally appropriate.

Boasting eight self-contained units, the accommodation

“This development is an innovative model, where it provides self-contained units where women can be treated with dignity, they can have their privacy and also their independence.” said Justin Cantelo, Housing Plus Chief Executive Officer

“They have their own self-contained units with their own bathroom, kitchen, backyard and they can have pets if they need to,”

“A place they can feel safe and heal from a horrible situation they are escaping.”

Construction is anticipated to commence late this year and to be completed and ready for occupants in November 2024.

Tamworth has the Need

And the need couldn’t be any greater.

Domestic violence has increased in regional NSW by 30 percent in the last 12 months, with Tamworth LGA alone recording 441 domestic and family violence incidents in that period.

The ‘Core and Cluster’ initiative is just one step forward in a marathon ahead to providing support and eradicating domestic and family violence.

The NSW Government has announced 30 core and cluster refuges in regional NSW, with services expanding beyond just housing.

“There are really fabulous support services in the form of counselling, in the form of education services, and other services women and children need when they are leaving domestic family violence,” said Jodie Harrison MP, Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Onsite services also include legal assistance, mental health, and job search help.

“By the end of 2026, we’re expect there will be housing for an addition 2,900 women and children leaving domestic and family houses,” said Ms Harrison.

However, the Minister admits there is a long way to go and more needs to be done by everyone.

“I plead with member of the community, please don’t stand by if you hear, if you see women and children being disrespected,” said Ms Harrison.

“The way we will irradicate domestic violence is by working together.”

“If you hear it, call it out.”

Need help or need to talk?

Domestic Violence Hotline- 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline- 13 11 14

Kids Help Line- 1800 55 1800

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