Support women and children in NSW to recover and live free from violence
Do you want to see women, children and people impacted by domestic and family violence in NSW have equal access to crucial supports to escape the violence and go on to live lives free from violence?
About Safer Pathway
The NSW Government has implemented a new approach to victims safety in the context of domestic and family violence which has revolutionised the way in which risk and safety is managed after a police incident.
Under this approach, 29 women’s domestic and family violence services – WDVCASs currently support and advocate on behalf of over 45,000 women with 40,000 accompanying children each year across 48 sites, providing information, support, referrals, safety planning and court advocacy in a highly integrated way with frontline government and non-government services.
What’s the problem?
Whilst WDVCASs are the first port of call for the majority of women and their children who have experienced domestic and family violence in NSW, they are not currently funded to provide ongoing case management support to women and children post the initial crisis period.
Rather, their support is limited to a crisis response after a police incident and the first mention at court, or in the case of women and their children assessed at serious threat, the Safety Action Meeting processes.
This means women and their children need to be referred to another alternative case management service for this support, which may or may not exist in the particular metropolitan or regional area, and women and children are passed from service to service to have their critical needs met.
What’s the solution?
A recent evaluation of the reforms has recommended that Safer Pathway be expanded to included case management support. This recommendation is supported by practitioners right across NSW along with survivors of domestic and family violence who have been consulted as to the solutions.
Without case management, significant populations of women and children experiencing domestic and family violence in NSW will be left without the critical assistance they need to actually escape the violence and go on to live lives free from that violence.
Domestic and family violence survivor, Emily* explains it in her own words:
“Having Jenny* call me and support me after the police had come was big, you know? I mean, I felt like someone finally understood and cared about what was happening to me. She was really helpful and she didn’t like judge me you know? And it was so good to know that I would see her when I had to go to court. But that wasn’t the end of it. After the court [mention] Jenny* helped me connect with Centrelink and social housing and she also gave me the details of the lawyer who was going to help me around the kids. She also put me on the waiting list for support with [a family support service provider]. But I needed help right then! I couldn’t get housing right away and I had all these issues with Centrelink and it was incredibly stressful. And I had no help with the kids and had taken all this time off work and everything was a huge mess. I just wish someone like Jenny* could have helped me for that first little bit just to get things sorted you know? As it was, I just found it all too hard and ended up going back to the house. By the time Donna* rang me from [the family support service provider] Freddy* was onto me and I just had to let it go. It took me two more years and so much, you know, [violence] before I was able to leave again, and that was when he threw *Gabrielle down the stairs. I feel so awful about this. I often think it could have been different if I could have just got some more help back then. Yeah, it would have been different.”
*All names have been changed for anonymity.
If you want to help women, children and people impacted by domestic and family violence in NSW have equal access to crucial supports to escape the violence and go on to live lives free from violence, find your local MP HERE and contact them HERE to tell them you want the government to expand Safer Pathway to include ongoing support for victim/ survivors of violence.
Or DONATE HERE to help spread the word!