Women's refuge survives funding changes "

Beating violence: Councillor Jacqueline Donaldson, pictured, wishes there were women's refuges when she was trapped in a marriage where she suffered psychological violence. "I got out of my marriage not knowing who I was," she said. Picture: Helen Nezdropa

Beating violence: Councillor Jacqueline Donaldson, pictured, wishes there were women's refuges when she was trapped in a marriage where she suffered psychological violence. "I got out of my marriage not knowing who I was," she said. Picture: Helen Nezdropa

WOMEN'S refuge Essie's isn't closing its doors.

A lively debate by Blacktown councillors about a Labor motion criticising the state government's Going Home Staying Home reform, which aims to address causes of repeat homelessness such as domestic violence, fuelled speculation about its future.

According to councillor Edmond Atalla, women's refuges have closed or lost funding due to the reforms, including Essie's, which has operated in Rooty Hill for more than 20 years.

But the Star has been assured Essie's will remain open.

Domestic Violence Service Management (DVSM) won the tender to take over Essie's from November after the current service provider chose not to apply to continue to run the refuge.

DVSM general manager Gillian Cohen said it would start providing services for men with children but said Essie's would remain crisis accommodation for women with children and staff could reapply for their jobs.

Some staff at nearby women's refuge Pam's Place will stay when DVSM takes over at the end of this month.

"I want to assure everyone these services will continue for women and children, as long as we're getting the best outcomes for them," Ms Cohen said.

"We're excited about the reforms including greater focus on prevention and new funding for long term support for women after they have exited crisis accommodation."

Cr Jacqueline Donaldson and fellow Liberals rejected the Labor motion calling on the council to lobby the government following a letter on the same matter in the past three weeks.

"I've lived in a dysfunctional family and been an abused wife but this motion is ridiculous," she said.

"The government will start ignoring our letters. We need to be responsible in our lobbying."

Cr Donaldson said it was vital to have women's refuges.

"It would be disappointing if Essie's was to close and would want to know why the criteria wasn't met."

Labor won the motion with the support of independent Russ Dickens.

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