Domestic assaults too common but more women seeking help
We can’t have people sleeping in unsafe places, ...one woman was sleeping on building sites Jhan Leach
DOMESTIC violence rates in the Mt Druitt area – in line with statewide figures – have remained steady over the past five years but more women are coming forward seeking assistance.
Women’s shelters and domestic violence services reported a spike in recent months in the number of women seeking and finding help.
In the Blacktown local government area, domestic violence remains steady, with 1971 recorded offences in 2014 and 1948 in 2015. In 2011 there were 1897 recorded incidences.
Domestic violence assault increased slightly in Penrith local government area, including St Marys, from 1057 incidents to 1069.
The rate of domestic violence assaults in Penrith and Blacktown is higher than the NSW average.
In Penrith it is 1.4 times the NSW ratio of assaults per 100,000 and Blacktown 1.5.
The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research’s 2015 numbers show domestic violence assault has been an immovable problem for five years.
Penrith Women’s Health Centre manager Jane Gold said recent campaigns were resulting in more women asking for help, even if assault rates remained too high. “There is the Rosie Batty influence, certainly in the last 18 months or so, which has had a positive effect that has allowed women to come forward and seek support,’’ she said.
WASH House Mt Druitt executive officer Rachel Merton said they were seeing a huge recent influx in women reaching out.
“We’ve always had referrals from other sources and police but we are getting more women walking in off the street or contacting us by phone,” she said.
Blacktown Women’s and Girl’s Health Centre manager Jhan Leach said recent campaigns were raising awareness that people did not need to stay in abusive relationships.
She said the next step was ensuring women had safe places to stay when they left relationships.
“We can’t have people sleeping in unsafe places. We’ve had one woman who was sleeping on building sites,’’ she said.