13 August 2019

PREMIER’S FAILURE TO REDUCE REOFFENDING HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR LOCAL WOMEN’S REFUGES

Member for Coogee, Dr. Marjorie O’Neill MP, has called upon the Berejilklian Government to restore funding to local women’s refuges and frontline services for survivors of domestic violence after the Premier was forced to admit that her government was failing to reduce DV reoffending rates by the 25% target by 2021.

Labor’s Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Trish Doyle MP, called upon the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to restore funding statewide for frontline services, describing the focus on perpetrator counselling programs as a failure.

In 2014, the State Government implemented its ‘Going Home, Staying Home’ reforms to the community services sector which saw the number of women’s refuges in New South Wales reduced as specialist domestic violence services were forced to provide generalist homelessness services instead.

In the most recent ‘Premier’s Priorities’ statement, issued this year, the NSW Government pushed back its target date for the reduction by 25% of domestic violence reoffending from 2021 to 2023.

However, in a September 2018 Premier’s Priorities statement, Ms Berejiklian laid out her government’s plan to reduce DV reoffending by 25% within three years.

The new statement, issued in June 2019, sets the same target – a 25% reduction in reoffending rates – but places that target in the 2023 calendar year.

“The Liberal-National Government must now admit that their policy of closing women’s refuges and de-funding crucial community services is a failure. The ‘Going-Home, Staying Home’ program has not worked and the admission by Premier Berejiklian that reoffending rates cannot be reduced by 2021 is proof of its failure,” Ms Doyle said.

“We need to see money invested in local services so that women escaping a violent home have somewhere to go to,” Dr. O’Neill said.

“In the electorate of Coogee, we have 0 women and children only refuges, which makes escaping a violent home more difficult for women and their children who are in danger,” she said.

“We know that a woman experiencing domestic violence is most in danger of serious harm or even death when she makes that attempt to leave. That’s why it’s so important that we use public money to fund services that actually support survivors in the hours and days after they leave,” Ms Doyle said.