Boost for local domestic violence service

In a win for domestic violences services in the Macarthur area, a key advocacy group has extended its numbers.

The Macarthur Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service is one of several similar services in NSW to become a ‘local coordination point’ this month.

This change allows the group, which has seen its numbers jump from nine to 15 workers, to provide comprehensive threat assessments on all referrals received by police for any women who have been victims in a domestic violence incident.

Program coordinator Tanya Whitehouse said the changes were a great move for the area.

“It is very exciting to be able to offer so much more support to women in the Macarthur area who have issues around domestic violence,” she said.

Advocacy service workers take the information provided to them by the police to contact women in dangerous situations and discuss their safety and the provision of any support they may need.

The team, based at the Macarthur Legal Centre, provides ongoing support through court cases and referrals to other professional support services.

“Having some of the highest domestic violence rates in the Sydney metropolitan area shows there is a definite need for collaborative partnerships with all service providers,” Ms Whitehouse said.

“It will be fantastic to be able to have all of the support services at the one table working together to ensure that the woman and her children are safe.”

Safety action meetings are held fortnightly and attended by advocacy service workers and representatives of various domestic violence support services to ensure women and children receive the best possible support in the quickest possible time.

Support and services include legal advice and tenancy advice, among others.

“From just July to December 2016 this service case managed 841 women, had 1318 clients – an average of 50 clients a week – and made 17,650 referrals, an average of 678 referrals a week,” Ms Whitehouse said.

“There is a very clear need for this type of support in Macarthur.”​

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