Drive on to combat violence at home
TWENTY Tweed Shire domestic violence survivors and their children have so far used a new service that helps them flee violent partners.
Women with no cars, from isolated villages like Tyalgum and Uki, have used the free transfer system launched earlier this month by Tweed Valley Women’s Service.
Unmarked vehicles or shuttle buses funded by NSW Transport have been moving DV survivors and their children to safety, while the service is being promoted by four Tweed-Coolangatta branded cabs.
This week the service garnered further support from the NSW Taxi Council.
Support worker Carol Graham says the service addresses the often “traumatic” pivotal point when a woman breaks her relationship with a perpetrator.
“It’s an extremely important and dangerous time,” she said.
“Often she’s got the children, and he’s losing his power over her and, if she leaves, he loses control.”
The Tweed Byron LAC has one of the highest DV rates in the state but the Valley Women’s Service says that’s indicative of good policing.
On the Tweed, contributing factors for DV include a tough economic climate and the drug ice.
“There’s a lack of affordable housing, there’s lack of jobs, and this all has an effect (on the male),” Ms Graham said.
“Then you start bringing drugs and alcohol into that as well, (so) there’s a lot of deep-seated reasons.
“And of course, ice is just everywhere now, it’s becoming an epidemic.
“That is the worst drug that has ever hit the market and it just turns people into animals.”
Once a woman escapes violence, agencies will move her anywhere from Lismore to the Tweed, the Gold Coast and further north.
The rate of women who move from Tweed’s only refuge to a new life is about 80-85%, while the rest return to their partners.
The secure South Tweed refuge has five rooms and three staff. But over the last year there have been cuts to community services “across the board”, including to staff at the refuge, Ms Graham said.
An event at Kirra Sports Club on Saturday, October 17, will raise funds for the refuge and the Tweed Valley Women’s Service. Tickets are $25 and include wine, canapes and games. Book on 07 5536 74 22.