In a Western Australian first, women with complex needs escaping family and domestic violence will have access to a new therapeutic refuge in the Peel region from early 2021.
WA’s first Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, Simone McGurk said she was pleased with the progress of the refuge and expected the planned therapeutic model would ensure women could get their lives back on track.
The refuge is a key McGowan Government election commitment to provide more crisis accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence, and more co-ordinated access to support services.
The therapeutic model acknowledges the health impacts of family and domestic violence and provides tailored services to survivors with complex issues related to mental health, substance use and intergenerational trauma.
A specialist multi-disciplinary team, including mental health professionals, domestic violence support workers, alcohol and drug counsellors, nurses and other service providers, will support the delivery of the service.
In developing the therapeutic model, the Government is undertaking a unique co-design process which includes the Department of Communities, the Mental Health Commission and the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services.
Architects for the project have been appointed and construction is at the schematic design stage.
One of the key aspects of the refuge will be flexibility in responding to client needs. The number of women and children accommodated will depend on the individual need, client mix and family sizes at any one time.
The refuge will also focus on the wellbeing of children and support the reunification of children who may have been placed in care due to the impact of domestic violence.
Children will be supported to address the impact of family and domestic violence and trauma on their development and wellbeing.
The McGowan Government has committed more than $21 million of new funding during this term of government, as part of a comprehensive policy package to address family and domestic violence.
In 2016, KPMG estimated the cost of violence against women to the economy of Western Australia was $2.8 billion.
As noted by Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk:
“The therapeutic refuge model will be a significant shift from current practice and recognises that family and domestic violence has serious and often ongoing impacts on women’s health and wellbeing.
“This therapeutically focused model is about supporting women and their children escaping family and domestic violence with specialist services because leaving the violence is only one part of a survivor’s recovery.
“In order to support women to leave violent situations and get their lives back on track, we need to provide services that look at the woman as a whole.”
As noted by Mandurah MLA David Templeman:
“Family and domestic violence has been a major issue for our region, and I am pleased to see that this important election commitment will be delivered during our first term of Government.
“The new refuge will complement the outstanding work a number of local agencies are doing to alleviate this issue in our community.
“In addition, the McGowan Government has also funded Allambee Counselling Services in Mandurah to the tune of over $1 million.”