Emma Husar MP says a lack of services for domestic violence victims in Lindsay “isn’t good enough”.
Speaking at a community forum in Penrith on Friday, the Lindsay MP said local women were “bearing the brunt” of gaps in policy from state and federal governments.
Federal opposition assistant minister for family violence Terri Butler, NSW opposition spokeswoman for domestic violence prevention Jenny Aitchinson and representatives from Penrith police were invited to speak at the forum.
“It’s been incredibly valuable and rewarding bringing together the state and federal shadow ministers as well as our front-line services, and local people from Lindsay, to talk about domestic violence in our community,” Ms Husar said.
The forum asked community members to share their stories and ideas for preventative strategies in Lindsay.
Rates for domestic violence in the Lindsay electorate remain the second highest in metro NSW, with 1051 incidents recorded in the Penrith area over the 12 months to September 2016.
The enormity of the task at hand is not lost on Ms Husar, who is herself a survivor of domestic violence.
“We had a frank discussion about the needs of our local community, and the policy directions of the major parties,” she said.
“Overall, there was broad agreement that the current Liberal governments have devastated the sector with harsh cuts, and the effect has been quite cruel on those escaping violence.”
Annabelle Daniel from Women’s Community Shelters was also present to outline a plan for a new women’s shelter in Penrith.
According to local service providers, 56 women and 95 children were turned away from the current refuge in a one-month period this year due to a lack of beds.
“The forum proved, yet again, that we have a generous and engaged community,” Ms Husar said.
“We have so many people willing to chip in so that our vulnerable women and children are protected.”
Ms Butler called on the federal government to pledge more funding to preventative strategies.
“The Turnbull government needs to do much more to support victims and survivors, and to prevent family violence,” she said.
“Calls for funding vital domestic violence services, such as women’s refuges and community legal centres, remain unanswered.
“It is well past time for Mr Turnbull to provide funding certainty to these vital services.”