COFFS Harbour has missed out on a new round of funding from the State Government’s highly regarded Staying Home Leaving Violence program, in spite of its high profile domestic violence problems.
Coffs Harbour was last year listed by the Bureau of Crime Statistics as more high risk for domestic violence than South Western Sydney and 30 per cent above the State average for this crime, with rates having increased by 14 per cent in the previous two years.
A women’s services spokeswoman said yesterday the situation has deteriorated further since then and the program would be ideal for Coffs Harbour. She said real estate agents ‘would not look at’ women who left their homes to escape violence.
Last week Uniting Care Burnside representatives in Coffs Harbour told Australian Council of Social Services CEO Clare Martin that homelessness was at the root of many social problems in the city.
In June 2009, Coffs Harbour was already ‘up there with Campbelltown, which we all think is the most impoverished place in NSW’ according to the Warrina Women’s Refuge co-ordinator Charlotte Young.
A spokeswoman for NSW Community Services Minister Linda Burney said in choosing locations that would benefit most from the specialised services provided under the program; Community Services had considered a range of different factors choosing locations which would benefit most from the specialised services provided under the program.
The program means the victims can remain in their home while the perpetrator is removed.
Services include risk assessment and safety planning, security upgrades to the home, court support for exclusion order and at family court proceedings; liaison and collaboration with police, case work to address financial, tenancy and personal issues and referrals to legal advice, counselling and other supports services.
Factors assessed included rates of domestic violence related assaults, rates of Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO) and breaches of ADVOs across all Local Government Areas (LGA) in NSW.
“To draw a comparison from one of these sets of data, Coffs Harbour LGA recorded 321 domestic violence related assaults in 2008, compared to 1003 in Campbelltown, 650 in Liverpool and 680 in Fairfield,” she said.
“Community Services also took into account other factors such as the approximate number of families currently being provided with domestic violence support in the LGAs.
“Taking all these factors together, Coffs Harbours was ranked as 36th highest Local Government Area in need of domestic violence support in NSW.
“Community Services acknowledges domestic violence is a sad reality in a number of communities and already funds services in the Coffs Harbour area to support women suffering from abuse. This includes the Warrina Women’s Refuge which received funding of $526,220 in 2009/10.”