Call to fund domestic violence refuge study
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.”