June 25 - July 15  2023: Issue 589


New Women's Shelter for Mona Vale announced

NSW Government Minister for Women, Minister for Seniors, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison MP has announced during Parliament question time that four self-contained units for women and children escaping domestic and family violence will be located in Mona Vale. The works are planned for completion by December this year.

This will bring the number of refuges in the LGA to three.

The announcement was in response to a question on Thursday June 22nd 2023 by Independent Wakehurst MP Michael Regan.

Mr Regan directed a question to the Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, asking ''When will details of successful projects under tranche 2 of the core and cluster women's refuge program be publicly announced so that people on the northern beaches and across the State can know what services and facilities will exist, and when, to meet the urgent needs of women and their children fleeing domestic and family violence?''

Minister for Women, Minister for Seniors, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison MP replied: 

''I thank the member for Wakehurst for his question, for his interest in issues relating to domestic violence and for supporting for women and children who are affected by domestic violence in his electorate. I know it is not a new interest. Last year I received correspondence from the member when he was mayor of Northern Beaches Council. He is quite passionate about this.''

Minister Harrison went on, stating:

Domestic and family violence is heartbreakingly present in communities across our State. The intersectionality of experiences of domestic and family violence with disability, culture, socio-economic status and a multitude of other factors results in some communities being disproportionately impacted by these crimes. But no community in this State is free from domestic violence, and the beautiful northern beaches of Sydney are no exception. The Core and Cluster model moves away from the traditional shared‑living style of accommodation. It offers more flexible, private and independent living spaces, giving more dignity to women and children and in some cases to their beloved pets.

Funding for the Core and Cluster Program has occurred over three tranches. Each has begun with an expression of interest [EOI] followed by a request for tender process. The tranche 3 EOI process will close on 25 July this year—so very soon. 

As many members in this place would be aware, the procurement of tranches 1 and 2 has been completed, resulting in 39 approved projects. 

Importantly, the core and cluster model is, by its very nature, a community place based approach to safety for women and children. The Department of Communities and Justice [DCJ] is currently working through the contract negotiations for the successful tranche 2 tenderers. At this stage contract negotiations for those 39 sites are in varying stages of completion. I look forward to sharing more information with local communities as those negotiations progress and are finalised. 

Having said that, I am very pleased to be able to share with the member for Wakehurst that one of the projects that was successful in receiving funding through tranche 2 of the core and cluster procurement will serve women and children on the northern beaches. Located in Mona Vale, the Core and Cluster is led by Women's Community Shelters. It is being done in partnership with Bridge Housing, which is a tier 1 community housing provider, which I am sure the member for Wakehurst is familiar with. 

I am advised by DCJ that building design and development application processes are currently underway and that capital works are planned for completion by December this year, with the expectation of service delivery to follow shortly thereafter.

I am pleased also to say that on completion it will offer four self-contained units for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, importantly with services and supports delivered by Women's Community Shelters. Again, I thank the member for Wakehurst for his interest in and commitment to services that quite literally save the lives of women and children in his electorate. I look forward to sharing more information about core and cluster sites as I am able to and as the contracts are finalised, along with the network of local community‑based supports and services available to women and children experiencing family and domestic violence across New South Wales communities.'' Minister Harrison said

The Core and Cluster Sector Capacity and Capability Building Program supports organisations to assess readiness and participate, as appropriate, in Core & Cluster procurement.

Core and Cluster is an innovative model that allows for independent living and privacy while also providing access to supports. Under the Core and Cluster model, self-contained accommodation is located next to a ‘core’, which provides access to services such as counselling, legal assistance, education and employment support. The sites may contain meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment for court appearances, communal kitchens, and playgrounds.

The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) will employ a range of different delivery approaches including use of government and non-government owned land, and working with Community Housing Providers, specialist homelessness services and other organisations to deliver the refuges.

Suitability for companion animals will be part of the design considerations of each of the new Core and Cluster refuges.

Over four years from 1st July 2022 to 30th June 2026, The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is seeking to establish and commence operation of 75 new core and cluster refuges for women and children escaping DFV. The new refuges will be designed and operated based on the core and cluster model, which allows for independent living and privacy while also providing access to on-site support.

On the 21st of November 2022, the NSW Government announced the delivery of up to 39 new women’s refuges under Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 of the Core and Cluster Program. The selected sites will be the first new refuges delivered under the NSW Government’s record $484.3 million investment for housing and specialist supports for women experiencing domestic and family violence and their children. 

The locations of these new refuges is targeted to areas of high unmet demand for crisis accommodation, with a focus on regional and rural areas, to ensure women escaping Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) can access the services they need.

An interactive map provides a visual display of the locations of new and existing government funded women’s refuges across NSW, by Local Government Area (LGA). The placement of dots within an LGA is not representative of the refuge’s actual address. This information is confidential for safety reasons.

The map provides the option to view the data by:

  • Local Government Area
  • Core and Cluster Program stage (Tranche) 1 or 2
  • Aboriginal led service providers
  • The number of DFV related assaults recorded by NSW Police (2021/22) and/or the rate of incidents. 

The interactive map shows the number of Domestic and Family Violence(DFV) related assaults recorded by NSW Police (2021/22) in the northern beaches LGA was 292, ranking the LGA as 33rd in the state. The Central Coast number of DFV related assaults recorded by NSW Police (2021/22) was 1,616, and is ranked 2nd overall. The Blacktown LGA number of DFV related assaults recorded by NSW Police (2021/22) was 1,935 surpasses the Central Coast record of Domestic and Family Violence. 

The Blacktown LGA has 4 refuges in operation and will gain another under the Tranche 2 allocations.

For Tranche 3 procurement, applications will be accepted from all areas of NSW, with priority given to applications from Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and applications located in areas that address high need and where access to services is limited.

For more information on Tranche 3 procurement, visit the Core and Cluster procurement process page.

Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) is an Australian charity set up on a social franchise model to provide emergency accommodation for homeless women in NSW, in partnership with local communities. WCS operates under an innovative ground-breaking funding model involving collaboration between business people, philanthropic foundations, local communities and the NSW and Commonwealth Governments.

Women's Community Shelters works with communities to establish new shelters, which provide short term emergency accommodation and support in a safe environment that enables homeless women to rebuild self-esteem and achieve control and fulfilment of their lives.

In addition, WCS brings expertise in governance, intellectual property, professional development and project management support to communities looking to establish new shelters. With a strong and experienced Board and a highly professional team, WCS is focused on supporting each shelter to develop best practice and achieve positive individual outcomes for the women staying at the shelters, while remaining cost efficient.

''I am incredibly pleased the NSW Government has today confirmed that a new Women’s Shelter will be established on the Northern Beaches. The project, confirmed following a question I asked during Question Time today, will help deliver four new self-contained units for women and children escaping domestic and family violence on the Northern Beaches.'' Wakehurst MP Michael Regan said on June 22nd

''Work on the new self-contained units, to be located in Mona Vale and funded under the Core and Cluster program, is expected to be complete in December this year with the units to be operational soon after.''

''Domestic and family violence ruins lives and I am committed to fighting for services to support women and children in these shocking circumstances in Wakehurst, the Northern Beaches and across the state.

''I want to thank the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter, especially Manager Narelle Hand and Chair Rosy Sullivan, for all their work providing support services to women and children suffering domestic and family violence and their sustained advocacy to expand the capacity of support services on the Northern Beaches. This local organisation was one of the applicants for this project.

''In making the announcement, I also welcome comments made by the Minister for Women, Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison MP who reiterated the Minns Government’s support for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence in Wakehurst and on the Northern Beaches.'' Mr. Regan stated

''In my 15 years as Mayor of Northern Beaches Council, I worked hard to expand women’s refuges and services for women fleeing domestic and family violence on the Northern Beaches and commit to continuing to do so as the Independent MP for Wakehurst. It’s a sad reality that these services and facilities are required and worse, expanding because of the demand. Tranche 3 applications will close soon, and I am working closely with another local provider to increase capacity for crisis accommodation. The sooner we end domestic violence the better. That must always be our goal.'' Mr. Regan said

NSW MP for Pittwater, Mr. Rory Amon stated,

''In my former role as a family lawyer, I had first had experience with the devastating impact of family breakdown and domestic violence. Women in particular can find themselves thrown into a crisis situation during a relationship breakdown. 

I am very pleased to see this shelter, which is in the Pittwater electorate, has been given funding under a program started by the previous Liberal government. ''