Demand for the Katherine Women's Crisis Centre exceeds its capacity, a review has found.
The NT Government says more work needs to be done to build the workforce capacity, service model and governance to best reach and meet the immediate safety needs and recovery of women and their children.
The government yesterday announced $22 million would be spent over the next three years on domestic violence prevention, perpetrator intervention programs, and safety and recovery services for victims.
Rates of domestic, family and sexual violence in the Northern Territory are three times higher than any other Australian jurisdiction, with more than 60 reported incidents to police every day.
This funding will help implement the first of three Action Plans of the Territory Labor Government’s 10-year Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Reduction Framework 2018-2028.
The first Action Plan Changing Attitudes, Intervening Earlier and Responding Better (2018-21) will enable immediate investment in prevention and recovery services with a focus on addressing sexual violence.
From this funding, $6.49 million will be invested per year, for the next three years. Additionally, $2.74 million will be invested this financial year to enable the immediate implementation of high priority projects.
Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre executive officer Jo Gamble said the extra funding was important.
“The Action Plan along with the commitment of funding is welcomed. It shows an acknowledgement and commitment from the Government of the significant problem that we have in the Territory with domestic/family and sexual violence," Ms Gamble said.
“The Action plan supports prevention and early intervention which will work towards reducing the large number of domestic, family and sexual violence incidents by supporting the people within the Territory to be safer, as well as for perpetrators to have the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions.”
Projects and programs from the first Action Plan include:
• The development of a first-ever sexual violence prevention and response strategy, including screening tools, practice development and professional development
• Expansion of prevention funds to NGOs to support locally based prevention and early intervention projects and; an investment in perpetrator intervention programs
• Equipping frontline workers to better respond to victims of domestic, family and sexual violence
• Community education program aimed at changing community attitudes
• Elder abuse referral and community education program
• Implementation of the Domestic Family Violence Information Sharing Act, which was passed in Parliament in November 2018, including regulations, guidelines, workforce training and practice tools
Funding for the Action Plan implementation comes in addition to the $25 million annual budget for domestic, family and sexual violence services.
Territory Families Minister Dale Wakefield said: “Domestic, family, and sexual violence crosses all ages, cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds and has a devastating impact on families. For Territory women, violence is the single largest driver for homelessness and is a major factor in children entering the child protection and youth justice systems.
“This is why the Territory Labor Government will continue to invest in generational change. If we don’t invest now - the cost to the NT will be greater in the long term.
“This funding will enable the hard-working domestic violence sector to deliver programs immediately, in the areas of prevention, perpetrator intervention, and safety and recovery for victims who have been affected by domestic violence. It will also ensure that perpetrators are held accountable and given access to programs that will change behaviour.”
Territory Families commissioned a service review of the Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge and the Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre in late 2018, in recognition of the high levels of domestic and family violence in the region and the vital role that specialist women’s shelters play in providing women and their children with protection and help to recover.
The Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge and the Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre welcomed the opportunity for the review as part of their ongoing commitment to improving their service.
The reports found both the Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge and the Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre delivered a quality service, demonstrated strengths and good practices.
The Territory’s Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Reduction Framework 2018 – 2020 stresses the need for coordinated and integrated services and systems with skilled workers that reach out to victims wherever they live and at any stage of experiencing violence to help them feel supported, connected and free from violence.
· Territory Families will work with the services so that any changes coming out of the review meet the needs of the clients of the region and prioritise safety for women and children. The services see the reports as providing them with important tools to support their commitment to improve the services for women and their children.
· The outcomes of the review are a key part of a broader Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence service system review in the Big Rivers and Barkly regions.
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