Women and children experiencing domestic violence in central Australia will have more avenues for support following a funding boost to emergency accommodation and wrap-around services.
An additional $5.6 million has been committed as part of the federal government’s nearly $49 million community safety initiative to increase the number of emergency beds available in the region.
The funding will allow Aboriginal Hostels Limited’s Apmere Mwerre visitor park to provide an extra 20 crisis beds for First Nations people in Alice Springs, including women and children experiencing violence.
The Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia will also receive additional funding to expand support to First Nations women and their children in the Alice Springs region.
Up to 35 per cent of people supported by the organisation are aged 15 years and younger.
Indigenous women experience disproportionately higher rates of violence, including 34 times more hospitalisations than non-Indigenous Australian women.
Lingiari MP Marion Scrymgour, whose electorate takes in Alice Springs and surrounding areas, said the trauma caused by an unsafe environment had lifelong impacts.
“Apmere Mwerre in the Arrernte language means ‘good place’, and that’s exactly what First Nations families experiencing a crisis in central Australia need,” she said.
“We have to do both, provide safe places and do the work to try to prevent the violence that’s happening.
“This initiative is another step in the rollout of our overall strategy to improve safety for women, children and families and to make Alice Springs a safer place.”
Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney said there was strong consensus more domestic violence support services were needed in the red centre.
“I have visited Alice Springs and Central Australia five times and have listened to communities about what matters to them and what is needed to keep women and children safe,” she said.
“We are committed to working in partnership with the Northern Territory government and community organisations on the ground to make a practical difference.”
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