ONE in three women experience some form of domestic violence and the Stirling Women’s Shelter is calling out for community support over the Christmas period.
City of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano said Christmas and the holiday period could be the worst time for domestic violence and family issues and encouraged people to donate canned foods to the centre.
“I’m honoured and humbled that we have the centre here and it has been for 38 years,” he said.
“Collected cans will be donated in hampers to the Women’s Centre so that families in crisis are still able to enjoy Christmas together.”
Stirling Women’s Shelter’s Marianne McCabe said in 10 years she had seen reaching out for help become more acceptable.
“One in three are the figures out there but I think true figures would be much higher than that, there is a huge need for women’s shelters as a safe haven in our communities,” she said.
“We could do with another 10 refuges.”
The Stirling Women’s Shelter provides secure crisis accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
Support services are also available to women and children who have experienced domestic violence but do not require accommodation.
The centre also provides advice, housing information, police and court support, legal advice as well as counselling services and staff often accompany victims to court to obtain a violence restraining order.
Ms McCabe said she saw the centre as a vital safety net for women.
“There’s nothing more worthwhile than seeing a woman coming in here with her children and you see them grow on a daily basis and you’re able to assist them to get the support that they need,” she said.
“To see them at the end of that, to get their own place – it is so rewarding. They have a fresh start; the centre is highly secure and we have support from the City of Stirling security team.”
Ms McCabe said community had thrown their support behind the centre in previous years.
“The cans donated from last year’s Christmas appeal lasted us the whole year,” she said.
See Opinion page 8