by Anna Watson

Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, has called on the Perrottet Government to fully fund a proposal to build a Domestic and Family Violence Trauma Recovery Centre in the Illawarra.

In a Private Member’s Statement delivered in Parliament on Thursday evening, Ms Watson emphasised “women experiencing trauma related to domestic, family or sexual violence deserve equitable access to the best possible resources and standard of care that we are able to provide.”

She went on to urge the Perrottet Government to prioritise both the proposal assessment and the establishment of a Domestic and Family Violence Trauma Recovery Centre.

“The proposed stand-alone trauma recovery centre would focus on holistic, long-term recovery of women and children who are experiencing trauma from domestic, family and sexual violence, and would be the first of its kind in Australia” said Ms Watson.

In March 2020, Ms Watson helped secure $50,000 in funding from The Hon. Brad Hazzard MP, Minister for Health and at the time, also Minister for Medical Research, which was put towards developing a business case for the Domestic and Family Violence Trauma Recovery Centre.

This included establishing a design for the centre, a collaborative process with service providers, policy makers and women who have lived experiences of domestic family violence.

The business case was completed in July of 2021 by researchers at the University of NSW, in partnership with the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre in response to the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Their Children 2010-2022.

“The point of this business case was for it to then be reviewed by NSW Health and inter-agency partners, to reach a decision on whether or not to fund this project in its entirety. Unfortunately, no decisions have been made as of yet and the process has not been able to move forward” said Ms Watson.

Women’s Health NSW are recommending in their 2022-23 Pre-Budget Submission that the NSW government support the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre’s proposal for a trauma Recovery centre, and that $25million be invested over an initial period of five years to facilitate establishment of the centre.

“The establishment of a Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre has been a long time coming, and will provide an incentive for this new longer-term model of care to be nationally adopted.”

“The centre, if fully funded, will finally give victims access to not only an adequate support resource, but a physical place of care that focuses on long-term holistic recovery and rehabilitation” said Ms Watson.