Macarthur domestic violence services get much-needed funding boosts

WILMA Women's Centre staff and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren.
WILMA Women's Centre staff and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren.

Macarthur's domestic violence services have worked hard to help women in crisis throughout the Covid-19 pandemic - and some of them have received some much-needed boosts.

WILMA Women's Health Centre recently received a grant to make over their outdoor space and create a relaxation area for the women who use their service.

WILMA manager Michelle Mays said the outdoor space had been on their wish list for many years.

She said the centre's staff had worked hard to create a safe and peaceful place indoors for women and now the outdoor space reflected that.

"When women come here they could be experiencing a whole range of issues," she said.

"The outdoor area is just a beautiful space for women to sit and talk with their caseworker or counsellor or even just a private space to sit after a counselling session.

"It's a place where they can go to regroup."

Ms Mays said the Covid-19 isolation period had posed many challenges for the centre.

"There has been a steady increase in women seeking support in the last few weeks," she said.

"These are women in crisis who need to escape the situation they are in - often there are child protection issues as well.

"During isolation some women may not have even been able to reach out for help because there are a lot of women who aren't allowed to use their phone with their partner around.

"Now that isolation restrictions are easing there are more women reaching out for help."

Ms Mays said WILMA's existing clients were a top priority during the forced isolation.

"We checked in with them more and made more calls just to make sure they were safe," she said.

"There are clients that we have who may have put up with domestic violence for years but the isolation was so tough that it just escalated and now they are ready to leave.

"They don't want to put themselves or their children through it anymore."

Ms Mays said she hoped the new outdoor space would be a safe haven for women in crisis.

"It's a place they can go to and find some peace," she said.

"It was the missing piece that our centre needed."

The funding for the revamped and refurbished space came from a grant secured by Campbelltown MP Greg Warren.

Mr Warren said the team at WILMA provided an incredibly vital service to many women throughout Macarthur.

"Many women have turned to WILMA when during this COVID-19 crisis and like always, the centre have been there to help out," he said.

"I was particularly humbled to help secure WILMA $50,000 towards the upgrade of the centre's outdoor space, which looks phenomenal."

Four other domestic violence services in Macarthur will also receive funding as part of the NSW and Federal Governments' recent $21 million investment.

The South Western Sydney Single Women Homelessness Accommodation and Support Service, Staying Home Leaving Violence Campbelltown, Macarthur Gateway Resource Services and WDVCAS - Macarthur Legal Centre have received a funding boost for domestic violence frontline specialist services.

Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves said these Macarthur specialist support services will receive a funding boost of around $316, 877.

"The pandemic has increased the potential for domestic abuse in homes across many communities, so we want to ensure help is available and accessible at this crucial time," Mr Sidgreaves said.

"Our dedicated frontline services as well as police and local court staff do an incredible job each day responding to the terrible scourge of domestic and family violence.

"This funding boost by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments will ensure local support services have the resources they need to respond to any increase in service demand."

This story Macarthur domestic violence services get much-needed funding boosts first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.