The Andrews Labor Government has marked four family violence refuge sites for redevelopment, with construction expected to begin mid-next year.
The refuges will move to a new core and cluster model, providing onsite support and independent accommodation for women and children experiencing family violence.
Currently, most of Victoria’s refuges are communal with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities and each bedroom accommodating a woman and her children.
The new model will see a number of independent units and a 24 hour, 7 days per week support facility built on one site to allow for greater privacy and independence, but still providing the support women and children need.
Importantly, this will increase the number of women and children to be assisted.
The refuges are being redeveloped as part of the Labor Government’s work to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The Royal Commission identified that despite providing safety and security, communal living still presents its own challenges for women and children who are dealing with the trauma of family violence.
Of the four refuges being redeveloped under the $21 million plan, three will be relocated to high demand areas and one will be demolished and rebuilt. Arrangements will be in place to ensure the services continue to operate while the new buildings are completed.
A $4.5 million boost has been provided to Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre in 2016/17 for further support to women in crisis – a 150 per cent funding increase since the Labor Government came to office.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley
“It’s important that we give women and children escaping family violence every opportunity to take time in the right setting before they move on with their lives.”
“These new homes will provide a short term hiatus – and coupled with a supportive environment, that’ll give them the safety and reassurance they need.”
Quotes attributable to Emerge Chief Executive Officer Paula Westhead
“We’ve been working in this specialised field for more than 40 years, and as the second refuge established in Victoria, we’re excited to be part of the changes that will provide better outcomes for women and children.”
“We know what a difference it can make if the crisis is met with appropriate support and facilities that will help these women to move forward on a better trajectory.”