New Peel women's refuge secures funding to double accommodation capacity

A new women's refuge being built in the Peel region is set to double its accommodation capacity thanks to an additional $4 million worth of state government funding.

The refuge - which is expected to be operating before the end of 2020 - was originally planned to hold six accommodation units, but a further six will be added to construction after the funding was announced last week.

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The boost comes as part of a $28 million domestic violence support package under state government's WA Recovery Plan, with a fellow refuge being constructed in Kwinana also set to double its capacity.

Accommodation units at the new Peel therapeutic facility, which will be a WA first, will act as a safe haven for women escaping domestic violence.

Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke and WA Premier Mark McGowan pictured at the construction site of the new Peel women's refuge. Photo: Supplied.

Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke and WA Premier Mark McGowan pictured at the construction site of the new Peel women's refuge. Photo: Supplied.

The facility will also offer services for women with complex needs, such as mental health, drug or alcohol counselling.

Mandurah MP David Templeman outlined the need for increased refuge capacity, citing domestic violence as a "major issue" within the Peel.

"The state government's decision to build a refuge in the Peel region acknowledges that family and domestic violence has been a major issue," he said.

"The Peel refuge will significantly increase the region's refuge capacity. It will mean 12 more families escaping family and domestic violence can be accommodated and supported in the Peel region on any given night."

Mr Templeman said the therapeutic refuge would offer a "whole new meaning to the concept of recovery."

"It will give clients the best possible chance of getting their lives back on track after escaping a violent and, no doubt, extremely challenging situation," he said.

"WA continues to have high rates of reported physical and sexual violence against women. Refuges are a key part of the response to keeping women and their children experiencing family and domestic violence safe.

"The state government cannot address this issue alone. We also need community-focused efforts that are about challenging the views and behaviours that blame victims for this violence or that allow this behaviour to occur in the first place."

Construction of the Peel region's new women's refuge is underway. Photo: Supplied.

Construction of the Peel region's new women's refuge is underway. Photo: Supplied.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the support funding was vital with families already under pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"No matter what is going on in the world, violence is never acceptable," he said.

"With many families under pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this comprehensive package will help address family and domestic violence."

The new refuge was announced by the state government in March 2019, on the back of a Mandurah Mail campaign highlighting the prevalence of domestic violence in the region.

The campaign was sparked after the Mail learned Peel's only crisis facility, OVIS, had turned away 140 victims in a six-month period.

A service provider for the new facility is yet to be announced.

If you need help with domestic violence, contact 1800 RESPECT at 1800 737 732 or phone the crisis care family helpline on 08 9223 1111 or 1800 199 008.

In an emergency, phone 000.