New domestic violence refuge to support women and children opens in Western Sydney

A new refuge supporting women and children affected by domestic, family and sexual violence has now opened its doors to clients in Penrith, Western Sydney.

Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison, said the refuge - supported by $7.8 million in NSW government funding under Tranche 1 of the Core and Cluster initiative - will support up to 47 women and 93 children each year.

“Securing safe housing is a critical hurdle to overcome for domestic violence victim-survivors and their children; and it remains a key factor in their ability to leave violent relationships,” Ms Harrison said.

“We know that more than 50 per cent of women who apply to crisis shelters are turned away due to limited capacity. We also know that each night more than 56,000 women across Australia are homeless and more than 75 per cent of their homelessness is attributed to domestic violence.

“This new refuge, operated by The Haven – Nepean Women’s Shelter under the Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) network, delivers 11 self-contained residential units comprised of a mixture of Core and Cluster crisis accommodation and rapid rehousing units for single women and women with children.”

Clients will also have access to onsite staff support 24 hours per day, 7 days per week through direct service delivery and on-call service provision.

Member for Penrith Karen McKeown MP said WCS, under the leadership of Annabelle Daniels OAM, was experienced in helping those in need.

“This is a significant boost to the services available here in Penrith that will provide much needed support for women and their children as they work to overcome trauma and safely heal,” Karen McKeown MP said.

WCS CEO, Annabelle Daniel OAM, said the collaborative partnership between government, DV service providers and local communities marked a significant step forward in the fight against homelessness and domestic and family violence.

“This partnership enables us to more than double the support and safe beds we provide to women and children in the greater Nepean region,” Ms Daniel said.

“Our work has always been about creating innovation in providing safe housing, and partnering with local communities to do it. WCS has been at the forefront of developing innovative housing solutions to address the growing and unmet demand for safe and affordable housing and we are committed to improving the lives of women and children.

“Through the launch of our Penrith site, we have effectively expanded our core program of work from crisis, transitional and meanwhile use accommodation to include innovative models like Core and Cluster and rapid rehousing.

“We are so proud to be delivering this fantastic service which we know will play a vital role in addressing the critical shortage of crisis accommodation in the Penrith region."

Women’s Community Shelters also partners with the NSW State Government in the operation of its shelters in Manly, Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai, The Hills, Great Lakes, Penrith, Bayside, Parramatta and Camden, which are already operational.