This is the reality of what’s happening in women’s refuges around NSW since the NSW government’s Going Home Staying Home homelessness program was introduced in July last year. The changes led to the closure of some women’s refuges. Many other long standing community and feminist run domestic violence refuges have been handed over to large charity providers, who won 75 per cent of the tenders.
The Kempsey Women’s Refuge had a 25-year long record of success in providing services to victims of domestic violence. Now operating as the Kempsey Homeless Support Service for Women, it was taken over by Newcastle-based charity the Samaritans.
A spokesperson for Samaritans told New Matilda the organisation has no experience in running women’s refuges. There is no reference to domestic violence or refuges on their website.
New Matilda has spoken to a number of ex-staff and local domestic violence support workers who say the quality of care for women and children escaping domestic violence has dropped dramatically since the Samaritans Foundation took over the Kempsey refuge.