A new women’s shelter for the Northern Beaches has received NSW Government funding.

The funding was initially revealed when Member for Wakehurst Michael Regan asked a question in the NSW Parliament in June. The formal announcement of the grant to allow the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter to fund new premises in the Pittwater area was made last Thursday morning (27 July) by NSW Minister for Women, Seniors, Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison (main image, centre) at Winnererremy Bay, Mona Street, Mona Vale.

NSW Minister for Women, Seniors, Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison

In front of representatives from the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter, including Chair Rosy Sullivan and Manager Narelle Hand, Minister Harrison (image above) announced construction had already commenced on the Northern Beaches site thanks to a $6m capital funding grant as part of the NSW Government’s ‘Core and Cluster’ program.

“Domestic and family violence, in fact, violence of any sort has no place in our society at all, and we should not ever put up with it. Sadly, in the last 12 months we’ve seen 34,000 incidents of domestic and family violence assaults reported to NSW Police.

“We know that those figures are definitely under-reported. We know that victims of family and domestic violence are frequently not likely to report to police for various reasons. As a community, we need to do everything we possibly can to put a stop to it.

“Part of supporting victim-survivors is to ensure that they have somewhere to go when they are leaving a violent relationship. A safe place for them to go and to be supported is incredibly important.

“We know that when women and families leave domestic violence, it’s often a really urgent and desperate plea for support that they make. That’s why this Core and Cluster initiative that the NSW Government has funding of $426m towards an innovative new model to support domestic violence victims is so important.

“The Core and Cluster model is important because it doesn’t just provide a safe place to live for people with children leaving domestic violence. It also provides them with independent living, and the dignity that it gives, and also provides on-site services.

“This is a $6m investment under Tranche 2 of the Core and Cluster program. There will be two new women’s shelters delivered, and one of these two refuges will be based here on the Northern Beaches and construction has already started,” said Minister Harrison.

Northern Beaches Women's Shelter funding announcement

Chair of the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter Rosy Sullivan (image above, left) said the investment was ‘desperately needed’ to expand refuge services on the Northern Beaches.

“It’s been a long pathway in terms of getting to a point where we can expand our services to take on the provision to women and children. Traditionally, we have just been providing services to women without custodial care of their children. This is a perfect opportunity to expand that, and move to a point where it is desperately needed unfortunately, in terms of women and children.

“13 years of fund-raising, philanthropic foundations that have been with us all the way through this journey since opening our doors in November 2010. That a property can be identified, and purchased, and then move into this Core and Cluster program, is going to take it to a whole new level of possibility. We will hopefully address some of the needs that we have, in terms of not having to turn so many women away on a monthly basis.

“We’ve had the architects, the designers, the fire and safety people who have been working with the property pro-bono, in terms of getting this property ready to then take on the next stage, to be able to offer the Core and Cluster model through this fabulous new property.

“Generosity of spirit can go so far in terms of making this a really valuable project, and a project that will benefit the women who are in such dire need of somewhere to heal, somewhere to be safe, somewhere where they can regroup their own minds, their own family, their own being in terms of returning to be a valuable, respected, and happy member of whatever community they choose to be a part of,” said Ms Sullivan.

Northern Beaches Women's Shelter funding announcement

Member for Pittwater Rory Amon (image above, centre), whose electorate the new women’s shelter will be in, said the property was much-needed.

“I’m very proud that this funding is now being delivered for the most vulnerable in our community, following the commitment of the former Government to $426m over four years for these initiatives.

“As a family lawyer, I worked with survivors of domestic violence and have seen first-hand the devastating impacts of domestic and family violence.

“This funding is vital to address the distressing realities of this issue that affects all cross-sections of our community. This should only be the starting point and Government must do more on prevention of this disease, not just the symptoms,” said Mr Amon.

Ms Sullivan also thanked Member for Wakehurst Michael Regan, who initially spotted the premises that will become the new shelter. As the former Mayor, he contacted Ms Sullivan and encouraged the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter to consider acquiring the property for use as a refuge.

Manly MP and Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter (NBWS) Patron James Griffin expressed delight that the funding had been committed and construction of the new shelter had begun.

“I have been advocating for many years to expand the NBWS. I am so proud as their Patron that the hard work of the shelter’s team is being supported,” said Mr Griffin.

Construction of the new women’s shelter in Pittwater is due to be completed in December 2023.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

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