Focus on the Land
‘Help is needed here’
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Alice Te Puni
GISBORNE advocates for women who live with violence feel left out of a $1 million commitment from Government to support victims of domestic abuse.
The money has gone to other centres.
The Gisborne women’s refuge has very little money, has faced closure and has had to turn women away because the safe house is full.
The centre was teetering last month but secured a year-long cash lifeline.
Beyond that, its future is sketchy, says Te Whare Tu Wahine Gisborne Women’s Refuge manager Pip Davies.
“Support from the ministry means we can keep our doors open for a year but after that I don’t know.
“We have had to restructure to meet the funding. We have had to reduce staff from seven to five. The need is still there, which means the workload has increased.”
Ms Davies is pleased for the families who will benefit from the Government’s funding initiative for victims of domestic abuse in other centres — but wishes this district had a fraction of that commitment.
Gisborne has the highest reported incidence of domestic violence per capita.
“It is awesome that women are receiving support . . . but I can’t help but think ‘what about us?’ I support the funding and I support it coming here.”
Justice Minister Judith Collins launched the expansion of the safe@home domestic violence prevention programme, committing $1 million over the next two years to the project delivered by Auckland charity, Shine on Friday.
Safe@home provides safety tools including monitored personal alarms, escape plans and reinforced doors.
Increased funding will enable Shine to expand the programme into Christchurch, South Auckland and Tauranga.
Gisborne has three monitored personal alarms — secured with funding from philanthropic trusts — to maintain an area from Gisborne to Potaka and Wairoa to Opotiki.
“We don’t have the capacity, with only three safety alarms, to keep our families safe in their homes. We don’t have the capacity to take any more families in at the refuge,” said Ms Davies.
Set-up costs for the personal alarms can include installing a landline phone and having somebody available for monitoring.
“We are looking for cheaper options but the reality is we just can’t afford it,” she said.
Ms Collins says 900 extra homes will be strengthened with enhanced security, supporting women and children at risk of repeat victimisation.
“We are committed to protecting victims and preventing repeat victimisation.
“By making homes safer and more secure we are giving these families tools to help keep them safe from continued abuse,” she said.
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