CENTACARE has received more than a million dollars to operate a mobile support service for women fleeing domestic violence on the Gold Coast, amidst claims that there is an accommodation crisis for survivors.
At least 280 Gold Coast women fleeing domestic violence are being forced to stay in motels, which Queensland Opposition domestic violence spokesperson Ros Bates has described as “dodgy” and a “band aid” measure.
While Centacare has received funding for a new mobile support service, Ms Bates claimed the larger problem was that the Labor Government had failed to invest in any new crisis shelters in the past two years.
“We have twenty-one units at any given time on the Gold Coast and yet we are the epicentre for domestic violence,” she said.
“Victims are being forced into dodgy motels at record levels as victims continue to wait months in the courts for (domestic violence protection) orders.
“Putting women up in motels with children is not the answer. A lot of the women are put up in Brisbane.”
Ms Bates claimed police were also called on five occasions to motels when perpetrators found their victims.
“This is just band-aid,” she said.
Ms Bates’ comments follow a visit to the Gold Coast on May 15 by Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Minister Shannon Fentiman to announce a $1.1 million mobile support service that will be operated by Centacare.
Centacare regional manager Sue Lloyd said the funding would go towards providing services for women and children forced to leave the family home, their friends and communities as a result of domestic and family violence.
“Many end up living in their car, or couch surfing with family and friends, and they have limited housing and support options,” Ms Lloyd said.
“This new Gold Coast service will be able to provide a vital link into services and help women find a place of safety.
“It will advocate on behalf of the women and children to enable them, where appropriate, to remain in their family home or to find safe accommodation and it will assist them to access support services.”
Ms Lloyd said the service would provide women and children with mobile support via phone or face-to-face, in partnership with the Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Services, Queensland Police Service, and specialist housing and homelessness services on the Gold Coast.
Ms Fentiman said women needed to know support was there for them when they made the decision to leave a violent and abusive relationship.
“When women make this brave decision to leave, we must make sure we have the right support and services there to help,” she said.
However, Ms Bates said the Government had made no investment in crisis shelters on the Gold Coast in the past two years.
She raised the issue of “dodgy” motel accommodation in Parliament in February, accusing the Government of failing to act on recommendations in the Not Now, Not Ever report.
“We have seen 9000 women and 13,000 children thrown into dangerous motels, because a lack of crisis accommodation means they have nowhere to go,” Ms Bates told the Parliament.