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Two additional women’s refuges

Responsible government

  • Western Australia

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 19 Build the evidence base to inform responses to domestic, family and sexual violence by strengthening the focus on what works to reduce violence, improving data and supporting the Fourth Action Plan priorities.
    • 20 Improve access to suitable and safe accommodation within their communities for women who have experienced domestic, family and sexual violence.

What are we doing?

The WA State government has committed to the establishment of two additional women’s refuges to increase the capacity of the service system and strengthen responses to family and domestic violence. The facilities will be purpose-built cluster models utilising independent units to respond to increasing demand and with capacity to deliver culturally appropriate accommodation for Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse women and children.

One of the refuge facilities will be tailored to provide person-centred integrated responses for family and domestic violence survivors with co-occurring mental health, substance misuse concerns and intergenerational trauma. The service model will be the first of its kind in Western Australia meeting an identified service gap. A specialist multi-disciplinary team, including mental health professionals, family and domestic violence support workers, alcohol and drug counsellors, nurses and other service providers will support the delivery of the service. It will utilise a strength-based, person-centred framework to improve the capability, resilience and safety of vulnerable women.

The therapeutic refuge will also focus on the wellbeing of children and support the reunification of children who may have been placed in care due to the impact of family and domestic violence.

The metropolitan women’s refuges are funded to work within a service system response aimed at enhancing the safety of women and children at risk of family and domestic violence. A sustainable service system response requires a coordinated approach and ongoing commitment from all family and domestic violence (FDV) Accommodation and Support Services. Opportunities to progress a service system response are enhanced through information sharing and close partnerships between FDV Accommodation and Support Services.

A key component of the service system response is the three Lead 24/7 Emergency Response Services funded to support the service system response. The FDV Accommodation and Support Services are funded to work in partnership with the identified Lead 24/7 Emergency Response Services in their area to ensure coordinated, appropriate, consistent and integrated responses.

  • The WA Government will provide $8.252 million between 2018/19 and 2020/21 for the construction and operational costs of two additional women’s refuges.

What have we achieved so far?

A needs analysis and extensive consultation has been undertaken with the family and domestic violence sector and potential service providers, which has informed the development of service models and design for each refuge. Further, consultation regarding the location of the refuges has involved the Western Australian Police Force, the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence, and the Department of Communities.

Land has been secured for the two women’s refuges, that is fit for purpose and suitably located to strengthen the service system response. Both locations are accessible to public transport routes and have access to schools, shops, medical facilities and a range of appropriate government and non-government community services.

What is next?

A comprehensive outcomes and evaluation framework will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders.

What difference will we make?

The refuges are expected to support a wide range of health and community outcomes, including supporting women and children to live free from violence, facilitating appropriate care for complex health issues, and where applicable, supporting women to be reunified with their children in care.

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