Central Coast Labor MPs and local charities have called on the NSW Government to detail how new domestic violence funding will be allocated to support organisations struggling to support victims.
The NSW Government recently announced domestic violence funding over four years to expand the Core and Cluster program ($426.6M), Community Housing Innovation Fund ($52.5M) and a trial in two districts to support accompanied children and young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research – BOCSAR, the Central Coast had the second-highest number of domestic violence Apprehended Violence Orders in NSW in figures issued for the 12 months prior to June 2020.
NSW Labor said there were local concerns that funding and solutions would not arrive immediately, nor have flexibility to deliver locally appropriate support programs.
“The combination of COVID and the housing crisis on the Central Coast has exacerbated the stress on domestic violence organisations across our community, who are already stretched beyond capacity,” Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, said.
“I commend the work of our outstanding professionals working in the DV sector across the Coast and encourage the government to allow flexibility within this funding to deliver locally-designed initiatives targeting specific needs in our community.”
Tesch said she encouraged the government to fund specific resources supporting older women fleeing domestic violence as this cohort continues to increase.
There are local concerns that funding and solutions will not arrive immediately, nor have flexibility to deliver locally-appropriate support programs.
Natasha McDowell, CEO of Ettalong-based domestic violence charity, Peninsula Lighthouse, said she would like to see the funds be delivered on a targeted local level.
“I wish I could be able to consult at the appropriate level to get the resources, including accommodation, that are needed,” McDowell said.
“Resources seem to go to the far north of the Coast as opposed to on the Peninsula … we have a housing crisis on the Peninsula.”
McDowell said the charity has seen a significant increase in calls for support during COVID-19.