Support grows for Australian-first women’s trauma recovery centre in region

November 26 2020

Mr Jones, and Federal Labor colleague Cunningham MP Sharon Bird, were among the politicians to attend the launch of the Resistance, Resilience, Recovery exhibition at Project Contemporary Artspace this week.

The exhibition, which features striking images of domestic violence survivors by Mercury photographer Sylvia Liber, is part of the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre’s campaign to set up a trauma recovery centre.

The two Illawarra MPs, and Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips, have vowed to continue to lobby the Commonwealth Government for the $10 million needed to build and operate the centre for the first three years.

“This could be a pilot project for a national initiative, and it makes sense to establish it in an area where there’s a high incidence of domestic violence and high need for such services,” Mr Jones said.

“There’s no doubt there’s a need for rehabilitation and recovery; if women suffer physical and mental injuries there needs to be a place where they can get rehabilitated and get their lives back on track.

“The idea of this centre is to have a one-stop-shop which connects all state and federal services, legal and health services and more, all under one roof.

“So that if someone is already doing it tough, they don’t have to wear out shoe leather to get all their needs dealt with.”

“For too long people have turned a blind eye to domestic violence because it occurs in the home.”  Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba

Lake Illawarra Police District Commander, Detective Superintendent Dean Smith, confirmed the vital need for long-term and comprehensive services in this area.

“Our work in domestic and family violence accounts for over 50 per cent of the work that we respond to, day in and day out,” he said.

“These figures alone are staggering and what we see with domestic violence is the impact that it has on families, and on communities. There are no innocent bystanders.”

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba also attended the launch, and have been active supporters of the centre from the start.

“It’s not just about domestic violence in isolation, it’s about looking at the issues as women try to find their way back into mainstream society after they’ve been traumatised,” Councillor Bradbery said.

“The implications resound in their lives for a long time, if not forever, and such a centre would support them to find their way back to happiness and well-being.”

Councillor Saliba said there were many suitable locations in Shellharbour for such a centre, including as part of the new Shellharbour Hospital development.

“For too long people have turned a blind eye to domestic violence because it occurs in the home,” she said. “But we all have a responsibility to prevent it, to call it out.”

You can support the campaign by using the #VoicesForChange hashtag or visit for more direct action options.

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