NSW’s first Multicultural Centre for Women’s and Family Safety opened

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The NSW Government has opened a NSW Multicultural Centre for Women’s and Family Safety, in a bid to invest in meaningful action to increase support for victim survivors of family, domestic and sexual violence across the state.

The NSW Government has partnered with Settlement Services International (SSI) and invested $4.4 million to establish the centre. This will increase accessibility to services and safety for migrant and refugee women by having holistic, well-informed and culturally appropriate responses to domestic, family and sexual violence.

The unique needs of migrants and refugees’ domestic, family and sexual violence experiences are overlaid and further compounded by other factors, including social and institutional barriers that inhibit access and present challenges that services and systems must address and overcome.

With thousands of women to be assisted each year, the centre will be based in South Western Sydney but operate statewide, including outreach into regional and rural NSW.

Recognition of the need for specialisation of services is a key element of the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32, with the plan highlighting the need for nuanced and cultural responses informed by the knowledge of and connection to communities.

domestic violence
NSW’s first Multicultural Centre for Women’s and Family Safety has opened.

SSI is a national organisation working with culturally and linguistically diverse people and communities in NSW with subject matter expertise in domestic, family and sexual violence.

This announcement follows the Government’s commitment this week to provide $230 million over four years as part of an emergency package to enhance support for domestic, family and sexual violence victim-survivors and expand programs that reduce the rate of violence against women and children.

The package includes:

  • $48m to roll out the Staying Home Leaving Violence (SHLV) program state-wide and to expand the Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Service (IDFVS).
  • $45 million has been set aside to improve bail laws and justice system responses to domestic violence with measures to be announced in coming weeks.
  • Nearly $24 million for specialist DV support workers within the justice system.
  • $2 million over four years to support the Domestic Violence Death Review Team and its work to deliver robust research around risks factors, trends and impact of service delivery.
  • $2.1 million over two years to improve and continue the Corrective Services program EQUIPS Domestic and Family Violence, delivered to offenders in custody and under supervision in the community to prevent reoffending.
  • $48 million to secure and increase funding for workers who support children accompanying their mothers to refuges. These specialist workers support them, including with education and mental health measures.
  • Support of $700,000 for the NSW Domestic Violence Line (DV line).
  • $38 million for the implementation of NSW’s first dedicated Primary Prevention Strategy. The Pathways to Prevention: NSW Strategy for the Prevention of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence 2024-2027 will develop a range of initiatives to address the drivers of domestic, family and sexual violence.
  • $8.1 million over four years for the ‘All in’ early childhood pilot, to prevent domestic violence by teaching young children about healthy relationships.
  • $5m in funding for research into perpetrators and effective interventions.

Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Western Sydney Prue Car said, “this announcement is part of how we are coming good on our election commitment to close a service gap by providing a vital statewide service for migrant and refugee women and their children experiencing domestic violence.”

Steve Kamper
Steve Kamper has weighed in on the centre. Photo: Gaye Gerard.

NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Steve Kamper said “the Multicultural Centre for Women’s and Family Safety will help deliver much needed services to our culturally and linguistically diverse communities in a manner that is accessible and respectful of their culture.”

NSW Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison added that “not only are women from multicultural backgrounds more vulnerable to abuse,” but “they are less likely to seek help due to a range of cultural and language barriers.”

“This centre will bring together the state’s best minds in multicultural women’s safety to address immediate risks to women and children and create long term positive change for the whole community,” Ms Harrison said.

Settlement Services International CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the Centre will address a critical need for migrant and refugee women and children.

Violet Roumeliotis
Settlement Services International CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the Centre will address a critical need for migrant and refugee women and children.

“All communities in Australia experience domestic and family violence. But we don’t have equal access to support,” Ms Roumeliotis said.

“The Centre will collaborate with other services to address the diverse needs of migrant and refugee women and their children who are at risk of, or experiencing, domestic, family and sexual violence. It’s about creating equity and ensuring support is accessible to all victim-survivors, no matter their language, culture or visa status.”

The Centre commenced operation in April.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic, family or sexual violence, please call the toll-free number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for support on 1800RESPECT or visit 1800respect.org.au.

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