A $158 million commitment has been made by Labor Leader Michael Daley in an effort to help eradicate domestic violence.
The announcement comes as the scourge of domestic violence continues to weigh down on the Penrith community.
The funding will be put towards an extra 200 specialist domestic violence housing places for women and children.
Mr Daley said it was a matter of urgency to ensure families have adequate access to crisis refuge.
“Labor is making the prevention of domestic violence a key commitment and I will bring responsibility for this issue into the heart of government, within the Premier’s Department,” he said.
Labor will provide an additional 200 specialist beds in priority areas, including Penrith, Goulburn, North Coast, Taree, Kempsey, Bega and on the South Coast.
As part of its plan, Labor will also provide additional funding for 29 specialist case workers in Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services, 19 specialist case workers in Women’s Health Centres and invest an additional $1.7 million per year into the NSW Rape Crisis Centre for sexual assault and trauma counselling.
He also promised to create an age appropriate school program to educate students about respectful relationships.
CEO of West Connect Domestic Violence Services Catherine Gander said local support services are bursting at the seams.
“Last year we provided support to over 1300 women and children through refuge or support services but sadly turned away 2000, anyone working this sector will know this is happening everywhere and it’s utterly disgusting,” she said.
“Two weeks ago a woman with two children rang our service, we were on the phone with her for nearly an hour calling around, there was nowhere for her to go and in the end she went to her mother’s house, the next phone call we got was from her in hospital because the perpetrator found her and severely assaulted her.”
In 2017-2018, 126,650 domestic violence cases were reported and 30,359 AVO applications launched across the state.
Labor are holding domestic violence as a high priority coming into the State Election, with other promises including extended paid domestic violence leave for workers, recruiting additional police and trialing a specialist sexual assault and domestic violence court in Sydney.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.