Woollahra Council announces domestic violence support package

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Women’s Housing Company staff

Women’s Housing Company staff

Published 30 March 2022

Woollahra Council today announced funding for a significant support package for local victims of domestic violence.

The Woollahra Domestic and Family Violence Accommodation and Support Program will provide $330,000 in funding over each of the next three years for accommodation for women and their children escaping domestic and family violence.

Under an Agreement between Woollahra Council and the Women’s Housing Company, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025 the funding will be used to maintain 10 units, provided to support vulnerable women and their families for transitional periods between 6 months and 3 years.

Addressing local community needs

This unique program reflects local community needs, allowing women who are not eligible for social housing to remain within the Woollahra LGA, close to family, local schools and other support networks.

The Agreement operates as a subsidised income-based rent model, with residents paying 25% of their income (the same rate used for social housing) and Council subsidising the balance of weekly rent. Since it was introduced in 2019, the Program has enabled 11 local women and their families (17 children) to remain within the Woollahra LGA to sustain community connections and support.

Increasing cases of domestic violence

Woollahra Mayor Susan Wynne said that although the Woollahra LGA is known as a wealthy and privileged area, like all LGAs, it also faces a range of social issues including incidences of domestic abuse.

"Domestic violence incidents have increased by 2.4% over the last 5 years across NSW, and our area is not immune to this issue. In the Woollahra LGA, there are an increasing number of women who are subject to domestic violence, including psychological and financial abuse," Mayor Wynne said.

"Nationally there has been a 5.9% increase in the number of women seeking specialist homelessness services as a result of family and domestic violence but shockingly, only 3.2% of victims receive long term housing solutions.

"With this funding and with the assistance of the Women’s Housing Company, Woollahra Council is committed to continuing its leadership in addressing this important issue by responding on a local level to the needs of vulnerable women and their families."

Support to stay in Woollahra

CEO of the Women’s Housing Company, Debbie Georgopoulos said, "Our partnership with Woollahra Council has delivered a housing solution to a group of women and children who would otherwise have nowhere to go. Domestic and family violence can affect anyone and the women in this program have been supported to stay in Woollahra, close to family and schools while they start rebuilding their lives, thanks to this innovative program."

Helping families rebuild their lives

*Sally, a Woollahra Domestic and Family Violence Accommodation and Support Program resident, said the program has been crucial in helping her family rebuild their lives.

"I had wanted to leave for years but couldn't find a way for me to leave with my boys safely. [The program] has given me and my boys a roof over our heads that I could afford; an apartment close to my boys’ school and to my family," Sally said.

"I realise it is a limited opportunity and I plan to be on my feet by the time the 3 years is up. This year I plan to secure a job. It has given me and my boys a sense of normality and stability so we can try and have a sense of control over our lives."

Further information on the Program, Woollahra Council’s domestic and family violence and community services initiatives and external resources and support services is available on the Woollahra Council website.

*Name changed for privacy reasons

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