Warning: This post deals with domestic violence and may be triggering for some readers.
Reforms proposed by the NSW government would ultimately see the demise of many specialist women’s refuges in parts of the state that have high rates of domestic violence.
The proposed reforms will result in the closures of 40 women’s shelters, some of which are located in areas where domestic violence is between 10 and 20 times higher than the average for NSW.
The reforms will affect disctricts including Bourke, Walgett and Wilcannia, Fairfax reports.
The shelters will be replaced with generic services, which Sydney University academic Lesley Laing believes will hinder the safety and security of women in need.
“How can that sense of safety and security be established in a generic service?” Dr Laing asked, speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“These services do everything to help a woman build a safe life. They provide legal assistance, financial assistance … all the things that women need.”
Mamamia previously reported…
It’s critical that we continue to work to raise awareness of the frighteningly high rates of violence against women in Australia.
But all too often, what’s missing in the discussion about violence against women, particularly in their own homes, are practical solutions. Which is why we think the unusual idea proposed by one urban planning expert is so amazing.
University of Melbourne urban planning professor Carolyn Whitzman posed this very interesting question in a post on The Conversation last week: What if we could reduce domestic violence simply by implementing better urban planning?
As she points out, rural areas and outer suburbs have higher rates of domestic violence in every Australian state – indeed, the murders of Luke Batty, Fiona Warzywoda and Andrea Pickett, and the recent killing of young sisters Savannah and Indianna all took place in the outer suburbs.
This is not because domestic violence is limited to any particular socio-economic, geographic or cultural group; we know that’s simply not true. Rather, Professor Whitzman explains, outer suburbs concentrate certain types of risk: