Media Release

30 March 2016

Reaction to the Royal Commission into Family Violence

McAuley Community Services for Women today welcomed the comprehensive approach to resolving the family violence pandemic in Victoria.

“There is a lot of detail to absorb in the findings, as well as the implications of what is mooted for change in the various systems.” CEO Jocelyn Bignold.

“However, we thank the Commissioners for the energy and empathy they have taken since day one of the commission, and above all else we are pleased that the link between family violence and homelessness has been recognised.

“We are heartened to hear that the Commissioners agreed with our recommendations around housing support that is needed, namely more crisis beds, medium and longer term accommodation.

“We are also pleased that the Commissioners have acknowledged that placing women and children in motel rooms is not ideal and needs to be stopped.”

McAuley Community Services for Women says that it has a housing model that provides choice and stability to women that is ready to be funded.

“We still maintain that we need to keep women and children safe in their own homes rather than become homeless and we will continue our work to make this happen,” says Ms Bignold.

The organisation runs Victoria’s only 24/7 accessible safe house, refuge and accommodation for women and children escaping family violence and who are homeless.

Ms Bignold has also welcomed the emphasis on assisting the police and the court system, more access to therapeutic services and work on repairing the mother child bond.

“The latter is something which McAuley – through its children’s program – has been building its expertise on for years and we particularly noted the need for further funding and access to services,” she said.

While McAuley Community Services for Women welcomes the establishment of 17 safety hubs, it is concerned about their operating as entry points for both women and perpetrators.

“We will look forward now to absorbing the detail and working with Government and our Community partners to implement the changes.

Media inquiries: Penny Underwood (03) 9818 8540 or mediawise@mediawise.net.au