Mandurah MP David Templeman has announced the state government will establish a new women’s refuge in Peel after Pat Thomas House, the only service in the region, raised the alarm about the number of women in need being turned away.
Labor had committed to building two new refuges during the March state election campaign as part of its domestic violence policy, but had not said where in Western Australia the services would be located.
Mr Templeman said Peel was in desperate need for more services.
“WA Labor in the lead up to the election recognised the increasing rates of domestic violence and the terrible effect it is having on local families,” he said.
“That’s why we committed to the construction of a women’s refuge in the Peel region to better address the increase and diversity of families seeking assistance.
“This is a priority for the government and the scope of this project is being developed and will be delivered as soon as practicable.”
Mr Templeman said the new government was also delivering on its commitment to spend an extra $1 million over four years on counselling for families and children who have been victims of domestic and sexual assault, to be provided through Allambee Counselling Services.
On Friday, Pat Thomas House, called on the Labor government to prioritise a new women’s refuge as demand in the region soared, with 30 women and 60 children turned away a month and the number of families seeking shelter expected to rise 40 per cent by this time next year.
Pat Thomas House executive officer Jill Robinson said a new refuge was desperately needed to ease the pressure on the service.
“With police currently attending seven to 10 incidents of domestic violence a day in the Peel region, the service cannot meet demand, and many local women are being forced to return to violent partners or move out of the area from supports as they have no other place to go,” she said.
The service’s chairwoman Jill Mather urged the state government to prioritise a new women’s refuge for Peel.
“The current refuge is more than 30 years old and has several structural problems, with thousands of dollars continually spent on maintenance and upkeep, money which would be better spent on services for the women and children accessing this service,” she said.
Labor also pledged an extra $100,000 for Pat Thomas House during election campaign to help with renovations and upgrades to facilities.