PAT Thomas House, the Peel Region’s only women’s refuge, is turning away up to 30 women and 60 children a month and is calling on the State Government to consider a new refuge as demand for the service soars.
Executive officer Jill Robinson said the refuge could only accommodate six women and up to 18 children and was struggling.
“Due to the age and design of the building, the inability to handle big families (at times having to split them up) and families with disabled or traumatised and older children with no adequate recreational areas, our concern for women who do not have a quiet space to work through these challenges, is a concern,’’ she said.
“With police currently attending seven to 10 incidents of domestic violence a day in the Peel region, the service cannot meet demand, and many local women are being forced to return to violent partners or move away from support as they have nowhere else to go.’’
Chairman Jill Mather said the refuge was more than 30 years old and had structural problems, with thousands of dollars continually spent on maintenance and upkeep.
She said working conditions were also inadequate for the increased numbers of staff.
“Staff do an amazing job but the lack of space and privacy impacts on the women who desperately need our services. The refuge recently redeveloped a large outdoor shed to accommodate extra staff but that will only suffice for a short time.
“Before the State election, the Labor Government promised two new refuges but due to the high incidence of domestic violence, we hope the Peel region is given priority on this key election promise.”
Mandurah MLA David Templeman said that in the lead-up to the election, Labor recognised the increasing rates of domestic violence and the terrible effect it was having on local families.
“That’s why we committed to the construction of a women’s refuge in the Peel region to better address the increase and diversity of families seeking assistance,’’ he said.
“Along with this was $1 million over four years to Allambee Counselling Services for counselling for those families and children who have been victims of domestic and sexual assault. This is a priority for the government and the scope of this project is being developed and will be delivered as soon as practicable.’’