Call to fund do­mes­tic vi­o­lence refuge study

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Tim Slater

A BEL­MONT coun­cil­lor has called on the City to fund a fea­si­bil­ity study into sup­port­ing, fund­ing or man­ag­ing refuges for victims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Cr Pa­trick Gard­ner has pre­pared a mo­tion that will be dis­cussed at tonight’s coun­cil meet­ing.

“Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is Aus­tralia’s largest so­cial prob­lem and re­quires all lev­els of gov­ern­ment to com­mit to ed­u­ca­tion and erad­i­ca­tion of its scourge,” Cr Gard­ner said.

“Over­whelm­ingly the victims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence are women and chil­dren, with con­se­quences that are se­vere and in­ter-gen­er­a­tional.

“A fea­si­bil­ity study and sub­se­quent rec­om­men­da­tions will pro­vide coun­cil with an un­der­stand­ing of the po­ten­tial range of mea­sures that can be pur­sued by a lo­cal gov­ern­ment author­ity to com­bat do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and care for its victims.”

A coun­cil re­port said the City’s com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment de­part­ment sup­ported the need for a greater fo­cus and range of in­ter­ven­tion mea­sures to ad­dress the di­rect and in­di­rect con­se­quences and costs to Bel­mont res­i­dents of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

“Such large scale com­plex so­ci­etal in­ter­ven­tions are the re­spon­si­bil­ity of both State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments, part­ner­ing with the non-gov­ern­ment, not-for-profit sec­tor that have the ex­per­tise, ex­pe­ri­ence and re­sources to pro­vide best prac­tice, ev­i­dence-based sup­port ser­vices,” the re­port said.

The City will con­tinue to sup­port lo­cal do­mes­tic vi­o­lence-re­lated pro­grams, such as the Nar­dine Wim­min’s Refuge, which pro­vides di­rect as­sis­tance in the form of refuge and coun­selling to women and their chil­dren, it said.

But it pointed out the ser­vice is based in the Town of Vic­to­ria Park, so it was not the City of Bel­mont’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide sup­port in any con­text other than as a re­fer­ral path­way.

The City is also in­volved in a range of pro­grams, in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing sup­port fund­ing for a refuge tran­si­tion house in Red­cliffe, start­ing a part­ner­ship with the Women’s Coun­cil for Do­mes­tic and Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Ser­vices, and ini­ti­at­ing a pi­lot project with lo­cal schools to pro­vide early in­ter­ven­tion strate­gies to make com­mu­ni­ties safer for chil­dren.

It also pro­vides rate ex­emp­tions for 29 cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties within the dis­trict.

If the mo­tion is adopted tonight, un­der­tak­ing a fea­si­bil­ity study would re­quire the en­gage­ment of an ap­pro­pri­ately qual­i­fied con­sul­tant to pro­vide ex­pert re­search, ad­vice and pro­duce a re­port on the out­comes.

“It is ex­pected that the cost would likely ex­ceed $20,000 to un­der­take the ac­tiv­ity prop­erly,” the re­port said.

“The City does not cur­rently have a bud­get for this pur­pose, and would need to in­clude any an­tic­i­pated costs in the 2016-2017 An­nual Bud­get process.”

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