Women's Refuge Funding Resumption

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Debate resumed from 4 August 2016.

In reply: I thank the member for Oxley, the member for Cootamundra, the member for Maitland and our fabulous, hardworking shadow Minister, the member for Port Stephens for their contributions. I also acknowledge the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence for her input today. I will address a couple of matters that were raised by the member for Oxley, who said that in this State we had a patchwork of services that were in silos. That was not the case. 

A fantastic system had been built up by the women's movement over many years, but they needed more money to deal with the demand that was generated once we started speaking about domestic violence in this country. We had hoped that the demand for services would increase when women and their families asked for help. We needed to apply the money where that help was required.

In thanking those who have made a contribution to this debate I call on the Baird Government to urgently reinstate the network of specialist women's domestic violence services and fund specialist women's refuges. Those beds are desperately needed. We must establish and fund Aboriginal women's programs, including reinstating funding for West Connect's Wirrawee Gunya service, which has been operating for almost a year without funding. I call on the Government to mandate and fund the provision of 24-hour coverage of women's refuges and homeless people's services, and to increase and sustain funding for the network of WDVCASs across the State so that they can deliver what the Government has promised. The Government must provide specialist training for Link2home phone operators who respond to domestic violence. I call on the Baird Government to ensure local police forces are empowered and trained to respond to domestic violence at the local level, and to carry out an audit of all specialist homelessness services' contractual obligations to ensure that they are providing the services they were contracted to provide.

The Government must develop a standardised set of agreed protocols and practices for mainstream services to work with victims of domestic violence, and an accreditation process to ensure compliance with agreed standards and responses. The Government must liaise with services on the ground to ensure that the gap in the policies of It Stops Here: Safer Pathway are addressed. The Government must address the gaps. The Government must establish a domestic violence unit within Housing NSW to ensure appropriate responses to domestic violence. Finally, I thank those who work in this space—those people who deal with domestic violence every day. Thank you; you are my inspiration.