8 May 2024

By Hannah Wilcox

A statewide rollout of the Staying Home Leaving Violence program and emergency domestic violence package funding has been welcomed by North Sydney MP Kylea Tink.

The NSW Government announced on Monday that $230 million is to go towards support for domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV) victim-survivors as well as expanding programs that reduce the rate of violence against women and children.

The SHLV initiative will receive $48 million of that. 

Tink said: “This is something I have been calling for on behalf of the North Sydney community, as while the program has proven to be effective it has previously, and inexplicably, not been funded in any of the 9 LGAs on the North Shore or Northern Beaches, at a time when it is needed most.”

“Women and children across NSW including right here in North Sydney deserve all the help and support we can provide when they are facing family and domestic violence as, as far too many are having to decide between violence and poverty.”

“Empowering them to stay in the family home, while removing the perpetrator and offering appropriate intervention in the perpetrator’s life makes sense. As does listening to our overstretched frontline services,” she added.

Continuing to throw money at a system that is geared to women running away is hindering progress, Tink argued.

“It’s time we flip the system and put dealing with the perpetrators at the centre of our actions,” she said.

“There is a way forward, but we need our governments to be brave and willing to work collaboratively to reset the system.”

It comes as at least 27 women have already been killed in Australia from family violence this year.

There have been calls for stronger investments in women’s safety with marches hitting the streets nationwide over the last few weeks.

CEO of Women and Children First (North Sydney and Northern Beaches) Dr Gabrielle Morrisey said she is delighted with the announcement of the emergency package. 

“The NSW Government is now listening to what frontline services are saying, and these commitments reflect that. We have been long calling for a statewide rollout of the Staying Home Leaving Violence program, with the help of voices like Kylea’s, and while it will take more money than has been committed, this is the right step to be taking right now,” she said.

“The next step would be a nationwide rollout. We will be eagerly awaiting the details of the funding and look forward to working on improving the safety and lives of women and children experiencing domestic violence in the Northern regions of Sydney.”

Yvette Vignando, CEO of the North Shore-based Mary’s House Services echoed these sentiments: “This is a pivotal moment and it is more important than ever that our voices are heard from the frontline.”

“We welcome this morning’s announcement of funding to expand the Staying Home Leaving Violence and Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Services – two crucial programs.”

These programs have already been run by Mary’s House in Northern Sydney for eight years with no government funding despite a huge increase in demand, Vignando added.

“We are desperate for these programs and further caseworkers to be funded at Mary’s House, so our services remain sustainable for our community,” she said.