by Anna Watson

The Illawarra Women's Health Centre has secured $25 million to establish Australia's first women's trauma recovery centre in the Illawarra.

Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, has welcomed the announcement, made on Tuesday evening as part of the 2022 Federal Budget, that will see a stand-alone trauma recovery centre established in the Illawarra.

“It’s finally happening. After years of lobbying to have a Trauma Recovery Centre built here in the Illawarra, I’m thrilled that this project has received such a significant funding boost” said Ms Watson.

The centre, to be the first of its kind in Australia, will provide a one-stop trauma recovery service for women and children who are experiencing trauma from domestic, family and sexual violence.

In March 2020, Ms Watson secured $50,000 in funding from The Hon. Brad Hazzard MP, Minister for Health, 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.

At the time, Ms Watson said “I really believe in this proposal and will do everything I can to see a Domestic and Family Violence Trauma Recovery Centre delivered for the Illawarra.”

Ms Watson has been a long-time supporter of this project, working in close collaboration with the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre, to get the Trauma Recovery Centre off the ground.

In February this year, she delivered a Private Member’s Statement in Parliament, calling on the Perrottet Government to fully fund a proposal to build a Domestic and Family Violence Trauma Recovery Centre in the Illawarra.

Referring to a 2022-23 pre-budget submission by Women's Health NSW, Ms Watson in her speech, urged the NSW Government to support the Illawarra Women's Health Centre's proposal for a trauma recovery centre and the recommendation that $25 million be invested over an initial period of five years to facilitate the establishment of the centre.

“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.”

“This centre 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”

“This is a great win for our region” said Ms Watson.