Last year saw one of the highest domestic violence spikes Blacktown Women’s and Girl’s Health Centre spikes has ever experienced, providing services on over 2,376 occasions from January to December, a 34% increase on the previous year, putting strain on resources to cover the concerning rise. This month the centre gets a critical boost in funding from Blacktown Workers Club, to provide emergency overnight accommodation to over 7,500 women and children in unsafe circumstances.
Blacktown LGA has the highest rate of domestic violence in New South Wales and from July 2019 to June 2020, The North West Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service aided a staggering 6,541 cases, with the vast majority associated to COVID-19 related financial and emotional stress.
Blacktown Women’s and Girls Health Centre CEO, Jhan Leach explains, “2020 was a really challenging year for us as the COVID lockdowns sadly meant a big spike in cases. We have been calling on the government to release funds for a long time and so this donation is going to make a huge difference to women in crisis and for us to keep up with the distressing rise. It will allow us to provide a year’s worth emergency accommodation, essential supplies and, case management counselling and support through their court cases. We’re so thankful to Blacktown Workers Club Group who have their heart in right place; their local community.”
As part of their latest fundraising initiative, Blacktown Workers Club Group will be donating $30,000, meaning BWGHC can continue providing overnight accommodation and travel to those needing to flee home, in addition to emergency back packs which include essential items such as necessary toiletries for women and toys, nappies, bottles and formula for children and babies. Those in crisis are also provided with a shopping voucher to ensure they can keep themselves and children fed and watered in what is an incredibly distressing time.
The funding comes after years of calling on the government for additional support to help what is seen as western Sydney’s “community cancer.” Leach adds, “I have over 20 years’ experience in the domestic violence support sector and although we’ve worked so hard, it appears to be getting worse. We need the government to release funds that we so desperately need and that is why the donation from Blacktown Worker’s Club Group is so greatly appreciated; it gives us the ability to do something very important that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.”
Community based centre The WASH House Inc. will be an auspice of Domestic and Family Violence strategic framework (DVSF), a new initiative focusing on prevention rather than cure, will also receive a donation from Blacktown Workers Club Group of $25,000.
Across the next five years, Blacktown Workers Club Group will be donating $500,000 to local community groups. With domestic and family violence such a complex issue with significant impact on the social cultural and economic fabric of the Blacktown community, Blacktown Women’s and Girls Health Centre is one of the first to receive the critical funding.
Kay Kelly, Blacktown Workers Club Group President says, “Blacktown Workers has always recognised how significant this issue is and will be contributing $100,000 per year over the next 5 years to supporting local organisations in the fight against it. These groups are at the frontline providing education to reduce domestic and family violence, and to support those directly affected.”
To mark ‘Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month’ and to stand together against domestic violence, Blacktown Workers Club Group alongside Blacktown City Council will be hosting an awareness morning at Blacktown City Council Village Green on Wednesday 26th May at 8.00am. The event will be an opportunity to encourage communities and individuals to speak out against violence and abuse and to empower people to work together towards its prevention.
For more information, please contact: Tierney Kelman, Papaya PR // firstname.lastname@example.org // 0434 259 798.