Patricia Giles Centre’s Safe at Home program to give victims of domestic violence a chance to stay at home


Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton, Patricia Giles Centre chief executive Tillie Prowse and Burns Beach MLA Mark Folkard. Picture: Martin Kennealey d475353
Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton, Patricia Giles Centre chief executive Tillie Prowse and Burns Beach MLA Mark Folkard. Picture: Martin Kennealey d475353

A NORTHERN suburbs women’s refuge has joined a campaign to empower people affected by family domestic violence with a choice to stay in their own home and within their community.

Patricia Giles Centre chief executive Tillie Prowse said the Safe at Home program aimed to raise awareness and inform neighbours and the community about what they can do to support people experiencing domestic violence.

Ms Prowse said the project expanded a government initiative that challenged the current paradigm where victims had to leave their homes.

“Why is it that the only choice for women and children escaping family and domestic violence has been to uproot them from their support networks and relocate them in a refuge often many miles from their home?” she said.

“Have we stopped to ask ourselves what the impact of this might be, particularly for the children?

“Can we imagine what it’s like for a child to have to leave their home, their friends, their pets and their toys – most of the time without notice?”

Ms Prowse said one woman in Australia died as a result of domestic violence each week and more than one in four women had experienced violence or emotional abuse by a current or previous partner.

“The Safe at Home program works to prevent these statistics,” she said.

“In many cases, uprooting people affected by family and domestic violence and their kids from their communities, support networks, pets, schools and familiar surroundings, is not necessarily the best option.

“Provided they have a restraining order against the perpetrator, the choice to stay at home can be empowering, and the first step towards rebuilding a safe life and safe future.”

Ms Prowse said health, administration and social welfare costs associated with domestic violence were estimated to be more than $3.1 billion annually in WA.

“Upgrading the security and providing ongoing support in their homes reduces the trauma to the victims and their children,” she said.

“(It) also reduces the economic cost of providing assistance accommodation, welfare, health, counselling and homelessness services.

“The Safe at Home program provides assistance, security, resources and ongoing support for people affected by domestic violence.”

The program aims to provide women and children with the resources, safety plans, security equipment and intensive case management support as well as police support to ensure that they are protected.

For more or to donate visit safe-at-home.org.au or call 6444 7682.

Other organisations involved in the program include Stirling Women’s Centre, Lucy Saw Centre, Ruah, South West Refuge plus Share and Care Community Services.

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