$200k funding for Gladstone DV services after shocking spike
GLADSTONE Women’s Health Centre has received a $200,000 funding boost after a 34 per cent increase in police referrals for people seeking support for family and domestic violence in the past quarter.
Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer attended the clinic this morning to announcing the funding to help women and families living with violence at home or recovering from the crisis.
Half of the funding will go towards expanding and enhancing crisis services for women living with violence at home while the other half will be expanded into specialist counselling for children traumatised by domestic and family violence.
Additionally $90,000 in funding will be allocated to the sexual assault counselling service.
“We know for a victim of family and domestic violence life is already extremely challenging but with COVID-19 those challenges have reached a whole new level of complexity,” Ms Farmer said.
“We know that families are facing increased pressure from loss of income, general anxiety about what’s happening with COVID-19, potential job losses, increase in substance abuse.
“This is putting pressure on families in a way we haven’t seen before, the demand on services like this service have been extreme.”
In Queensland, one in six women over the age of 15 and one in 16 men are the victims of family and domestic violence.
Ms Farmer said the pressure on victims was increased when going into quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.
“We have seen an increase in the brutality and severity of physical abuse because of that pressure cooker situation having people living on top of each other,” she said.
Gladstone Women’s Health Centre Management Committee chairperson Marilyn Steel said the funding was critical for the organisation.
“This additional funding just allows us to extend the exceptional work that’s already done,” she said.
“We are hoping to be able to recruit staff to provide additional services.
“At the end of the day we want to be able to have safer families in our community and safer community overall.”
Gladstone Women’s Health Centre counsellor Yaleela said the centre had seen a spike in children using the service.
“We’ve seen a major increase in children’s anxiety, depression and anger both in their home environments, in their school environments and interactions with their peers and their families,” she said.
“It’s nerve racking for anyone but our clinicians are well trained in supporting children.”
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said he was aware the rate of domestic violence in Gladstone was rising.
“As the brother of a local policeman it is by far one of the most dangerous situations that they have to go to when called in an emergency,” Mr Butcher said.
“You can only imagine the feeling of the women and the children when they’re living in that constantly 24 hours a day.”
In the last financial year,, there were 549 people charged with domestic violence contraventions in Gladstone.
Mr Butcher said gone were the days where people could just ignore overhearing fights.
“I’m saying to those perpetrators out there that people are watching and people are listening,” Mr Butcher said.
“The numbers of calls into Gladstone police and police around Australia is increasing because of awareness of family and domestic violence.”
He said it was important to ensure the court systems managed this right.
“We need to make sure those people who are continually doing the wrong thing are put in jail,” he said.
“There’s nothing wrong with making a call yourself, there’s nothing wrong with you as a neighbour or someone seeing it in the street, that you make sure you call the Gladstone police.
“If we can save one life because of a prevention program, if we can save one life because of what we’re doing here in Gladstone Women’s Health Centre, it’s a life well saved.”
Anyone seeking help in a domestic violence situation should contact:
1800-Respect: 1800 737 732
Gladstone Women’s Health: 1800 749 222
DV Connect Womensline: 1800 811 811
DV Connect Mensline: 1800 600 636
Policelink 131 444 or 000 in an emergency.