Sup­port for safe house

Clutha Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY-JO TOHILL

A groundswell of sup­port for a Women’s Refuge at Bal­clutha has prompted the Gore-based or­gan­i­sa­tion to ac­tively seek fund­ing for a safe house.

In the face of ris­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sta­tis­tics – 52 per cent of ar­rests/in­ci­dents orig­i­nate from do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in the Clutha Dis­trict, Gore Women’s Refuge opened a branch of­fice at Bal­clutha in July, and ap­pointed south Otago ad­vo­cate Kerri Oliver to staff it. How­ever, since then there had been a groundswell of sup­port for Bal­clutha to have more ex­panded ser­vices, Gore Women’s Refuge board mem­ber and spokesper­son Colleen Te Au, said.

‘‘The staff and board mem­bers of Gore Women’s Refuge are work­ing dili­gently to­wards ad­dress­ing the needs in the Bal­clutha area. If open­ing a safe house in the town is the safest vi­able op­tion we will cer­tainly be ex­plor­ing all op­tions.’’

Gore Women’s Refuge sup­porter and board mem­ber Clutha Dis­trict mayor Bryan Cado­gan said he had anec­do­tal ev­i­dence of how dif­fi­cult it was for some Clutha women to make the trip an hour away to Gore.

‘‘I am 100 per cent sup­port­ive of Gore Women’s Refuge and hope to strengthen the over­all group by ex­pand­ing Clutha’s ca­pac­ity to re­spond.’’

Gore Women’s Refuge was al­lo­cated lim­ited funds to pro­vide ser­vices in Bal­clutha, Te Au said. How­ever, if the com­mu­nity needed it, they would make it hap­pen, she said.

MARY-JO TOHILL/STUFF

Kerri Oliver and Clutha mayor Bryan Cado­gan.

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