Labor commits to aid Peel domestic violence 'scourge'

Mandurah’s Labor MP David Templeman met with Allambee Counselling manager Nicole Lambert on Wednesday morning to announce his funding promise for the organisation, if elected.

Mr Templeman said not enough Royalties for Regions funding went towards bettering Mandurah’s crucial health services, such as the domestic violence crisis counselling Allambee provides.

He said if successful at the March 17 election, he would ensure $1 million from Royalties for Regions would go towards the organisation over the next four years.

“Domestic violence is a challenge and scourge we have in Western Australia and across the country, but the statistics in Mandurah and Peel are absolutely appalling, and they have been for some time,” Mr Templeman said.

Police statistics for the Peel region between 2014-15 and 2015-16 showed the number of domestic violence incident reports had increased by 25.7 per cent.

In spite of this, Allambee’s domestic violence services have been relying on sporadic grants and self-funding, with one full-time counselor.

Without proper funding the organisation is having to reduce its services, despite a growing need- from 2014-16 the number of clients has risen by 55 per cent.

“Fortunately David has recognised our need and has said this can’t continue, and we must make sure this service stays,” Ms Lambert said.

“When you’re trying to create real change for people who have been experiencing violence, you need to hang in there with them for the long haul,” she said.

At present, however, they are only able to offer clients six sessions of counselling with a GP referral and Medicare.

“When you’re talking about children, it might take six sessions for them to feel comfortable to say anything, and then you’ve got nothing else up your sleeve… it’s nowhere near enough,” Ms Lambert said.

She said the money would allow them to employ two full-time counselors, which would allow them to provide services to more people and reduce wait times, but also offer people counselling for as long as they actually need it.

Mr Templeman said he believes the four-year commitment will give Allambee the chance to embed continuity in their services, and free them up to focus on services instead of grant applications.

“We think that’s something Royalties for Regions should be spent on, not just on building a fancy building... it’s also got to be looking at delivering quality programs that are going to address some of these issues that affect us,” he said.

Mr Templeman said he felt Peel had not had it “fair share” of Royalty for Regions in the last two terms of government.

For domestic violence help call Allambee (9535 8263), Crisis Care (1800 199 008) or for immediate danger call the police (000).