A steering committee of 11 people has been established to mount the campaign to “restore our refuge” in Taree.
An audience of 32 attended the public meeting to Restore our Refuge (ROR) on Thursday June 8.
A panel of three, Kate Roth (for Marion Hosking who was unwell but recovering), Anna Kerr (principal solicitor of the Feminist Legal Centre in Sydney) and Leonie McGuire addressed the group.
Jenny Aitcheson, Member for Maitland, Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault also attended.
“The key objective of the meeting was to form a steering committee to have the community asset of a 24x7 specialist, secular, domestic violence refuge returned to the Taree community,” said Leonie.
“It was handed over to a faith based organisation following an opaque tender process in 2014 and resulted in an unacceptable loss of staff and services to local women and children fleeing violent homes.
“The campaign will fight against and not accept any models of services to women and children which are understaffed, underfunded and operating under any brand whether faith based or corporate,” she said.
“Our governments have a duty of care to women and children whose safety has been compromised by their reforms.
“Their reduction of taxpayer funding has allowed for a multitude of uninformed charities and Foundations to fill the funding gap.
“It appears from recent elections that people all over the world are objecting to the Neo Liberal view of the world that privatises and commodifies all human experience including misery.
“We demand the State Government abandon its failed Going Home, Staying Home program and return to the model of fully funded, crisis response and full wrap around services to restore women and children to safe independent living.
“It is hoped that other regional centres which lost their quality services will also mount campaigns demanding the return of the quality services lost to us all in 2014,” she said.