Sue Ellery

Sue Ellery

Minister for Child Protection; Communities; Women's Interests; Seniors and Volunteering

    Wheatbelt women helped to beat domestic violence.

    7/02/2008 4:35 PM

    More than 100 Wheatbelt women who were the victims of domestic violence in the past year, including farmers’ wives and small business owners, have been helped by a new Northam project designed to break the cycle of abuse in the home.

    Visiting Waminda Women’s Refuge today, Child Protection Minister Sue Ellery said women from Moora to Beverley who would normally slip through the net were now able to receive crisis counselling and support.

    “The Wheatbelt Early Intervention and Outreach project is an important country project that is helping local families overcome the problems of domestic violence,” Ms Ellery said.

    “Managed by Northam Share and Care, it is designed to increase the effectiveness of 24 and 72-hour police orders on perpetrators of domestic violence.

    “After police remove the perpetrator from the home, the project provides at-home support for the victim, allowing more women and their children to remain in the home rather than leave in fear of more abuse.

    “The particular success of this program is that it is reaching women in Northam, Beverley, York, Wundowie, Toodyay and Gingin, who would not normally have contact with domestic violence services.

    “These are women who would otherwise miss out on support services because they have the financial means to find their own accommodation and do not need to stay at the local refuge.”

    Waminda program manager Diane Turnock said strong collaboration between Share and Care, Waminda and local police had seen the project reap excellent results.

    “Because the police are providing reports to us on every domestic violence incident they attend, we are able to reach out to all women rather than only those who come to the refuge or seek counselling,” Ms Turnock said.

    “We personally visit women in their homes to inform them of their options and assess their needs, and then help them access the services they need.

    “Support is also offered to the perpetrator, so that the entire family benefits from the project.

    “Last year, police notified the refuge about 357 domestic violence incidents and 130 victims gave their consent to be contacted by the project co-ordinator.”

    The Minister said the $57,000 pilot project was funded through the Commonwealth/State Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) Innovation and Investment Fund.

    It is one of five similar pilot projects operating throughout the State and will be evaluated by Edith Cowan University.

    Minister's office: 9213 7150