Hope for Ellenbrook abuse victims with opening of new crisis accommodation facility


Central Metropolitan District Superintendent Kim Massam, Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban, Child Protection
Minister Andrea Mitchell and City of Swan Deputy Mayor David Lucas.
Central Metropolitan District Superintendent Kim Massam, Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban, Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell and City of Swan Deputy Mayor David Lucas.

THE wait for domestic violence accommodation in Ellenbrook is finally over, with the recent official opening of a five-unit facility.

The $2 million State Government-funded units are managed by crisis accommodation provider Patricia Giles Centre, which also runs the Ellenbrook Safe at Home service which was launched last year.

Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell said the Government was committed to providing more options for women and children escaping abusive homes.

“The crisis accommodation offers five independent units of various sizes to accommodate larger families and those families with older boys,” she said.

“Women and children will be able to live safely without the fear of violence and regain their independence.”

Patricia Giles Centre chief executive Kedy Kristal said one of the units was already occupied.

“A family moved in last week,” she said.

“We expect all five units to be utilised in the near future.”

Ms Kristal said the accommodation was much-needed with the rise of domestic violence.

“There’s a domestic violence incident in WA every 10 minutes,” she said.

“We know numbers are high everywhere; it’s a massive issue statewide.”

The medium-term centre houses women and their families for up to six months, while support workers from the centre try to get the women and their families’ lives back on track.

“When a woman decides to leave that situation and take refuge, we do basic things like going back to the house with police to get ID and extra clothes that have been left behind,” Ms Kristal said.

“We also arrange vital things such as Centrelink, enrolling kids in new schools, getting the family on a waiting list for a

house, family court matters around custody, as well as counselling for the woman and her children.

“Once she has assessed what her options are, we then help her find a house, leave the refuge and set up in a new

community.”

Police attend around 40,000 family and domestic violence incidents across the state each year.

In two-thirds of these cases, children are present.

“You don’t have to be a direct recipient (of violence),” Ms Kristal said.

“It can have a huge impact on children living in the house where it is happening.”

Ms Kristal said the topic of domestic violence was often taboo.

“One thing perpetrators do is convince woman she’s the problem,” she said.

“Women have been so fearful of the consequences, but the only way women can reach out for help is to start talking about it.”

Contact numbers:

The Patricia Giles Centre: 9300 0340

Safe at Home Ellenbrook: 9374 0747

Women’s domestic violence helpline: 1800 007 339

Men’s domestic violence helpline: 1800 000 599