- $2 million expansion of WA's first therapeutic women's refuge, Warlang Bidi, completed in Peel region
- Additional accommodation units deliver further support for women and children escaping violence
- Expansion project funded through the WA Recovery Plan to help address family and domestic violence through the COVID-19 pandemic
- Official opening coincides with day eight of the State Government's 16 Days in WA campaign to stop violence against women
The McGowan Government has delivered on its commitment to double accommodation capacity at the Warlang Bidi women's refuge in Peel.
Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk today officially opened and toured the $2 million refuge expansion which was funded through the WA Recovery Plan to provide additional support for women and children fleeing family and domestic violence through the COVID-19 pandemic.
As well as providing accommodation for women and children escaping family and domestic violence, the Warlang Bidi refuge delivers co-ordinated and tailored services for women who may be experiencing mental health concerns or harm from alcohol and other drugs.
It is the first therapeutic refuge of its kind in Western Australia and has operated at full capacity since it opened in November last year. Warlang Bidi means 'healthy path' in Noongar language, reflecting the aim to support women through their healing journey.
The Warlang Bidi expansion not only increases the family and domestic violence accommodation capacity in WA, it enhances support to the sector which has seen increased demand for services since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The expansion has successfully increased the number of accommodation units at the refuge to 12 - up from six units. This significantly increases the accommodation capacity for women and children experiencing or at risk of family and domestic violence in the region.
The project was prioritised as part of the WA Recovery Plan which is helping to drive WA's economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and has created jobs across the State.
The Warlang Bidi refuge expansion has been supported by service provider OVIS Community Services which operates the refuge in partnership with Peel-based trauma counselling specialist Allambee Counselling.
The women's refuge expansion is also part of the State Government's Path to Safety: Western Australia's Strategy to Reduce Family and Domestic Violence 2020-2030 which sets out a whole-of-government and community plan for reducing and responding to family and domestic violence over the next decade.
The launch of the Warlang Bidi refuge expansion coincides with day eight of the State Government's fifth annual 16 Days in WA campaign to stop violence against women and their families.
The 16 Days in WA campaign promotes community awareness and challenges views that can prevent survivors from seeking help or assistance. It also seeks to put an end to behaviours that allow victim blaming to occur.
More information on the 16 Days in WA campaign, which has a theme of 'Don't be silent when you see violence' in 2021, is available online.
Comments attributed to Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk:
"Family and domestic violence is never acceptable, but it is a significant issue across Western Australia.
"Warlang Bidi is the first refuge in WA to deliver a therapeutic service model, addressing a critical service gap for the family and domestic violence sector.
"In doubling the refuge's accommodation capacity, we are enabling more women escaping violence to access the specialist services on offer at this innovative facility, which helps to improve residents' wellbeing and build their capability and resilience.
"The theme for this year's 16 Days in WA campaign is 'don't be silent when you see violence', encouraging Western Australians to speak up when they see disrespectful behaviour towards women to help stop violence before it starts."
Comments attributed to Mandurah MLA David Templeman:
"Warlang Bidi is providing a vital service in the Peel community and the additional accommodation capacity will help to support more women and children in need.
"Family and domestic violence is an unacceptable reality for too many Western Australian women and children, and the State Government continues to invest in additional supports.
"Crucially, the therapeutic model ensures that the Peel refuge's residents are helped with co-existing issues such as mental health and drug and alcohol support, to help them heal and get their lives back on track."
Minister's office - 6552 6600