- A Safe Night Space for vulnerable people will close at the end of the month
- Experts in the domestic violence space say they are bewildered by the decision
- The government says it wants the centre to stay open
WA already has the highest rate of women who look for help from homelessness services who have also experienced family and domestic violence.
But Ruah says the rates at the Safe Night Space are even higher – with around 75 per cent of women who walk through its doors trying to escape it.
“There is an irony in the fact that we’re being forced to close, when the reality is the need has probably never been greater,” Ms Zanella said, referring to a spate of alleged murders in recent months suspected to be linked to domestic violence.
She said women in all sorts of situations approached the service.
“Women as young as 18 and as old as in their 70s. Women who are pregnant and escaping violence, women who are terrified, women who have been sexually assaulted prior to arriving at the service, women who’ve got mental health challenges,” Ms Zanella said.
Perth’s Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas insists it’s the right decision to bring the trial to an end.
He said it was only ever meant to be a two-year trial, which had already been extended until other services came online.
Both Ruah and Shelter WA say the growing demand for services is swamping any available capacity.
“We have seen extra beds in the city, but they’re all being utilised,” Shelter WA’s CEO Ms Snell said.