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Michelle Lensink MLC | Carolyn Power MP
All 31 new domestic violence crisis accommodation beds for women and children are now open across South Australia, keeping more South Australians safe and delivering on a $4 million Marshall Liberal Government commitment.

Of the 31 beds, six new beds are now open in Southern Adelaide, where women will be supported by Women’s Safety Services SA staff. It follows the opening of eight beds in Northern Adelaide in January.

An additional 17 beds are now open in regional SA, including the Murray Mallee (6), Eyre and Western (8) and Limestone Coast (3).

The crisis beds provide safe and supported accommodation to women and children in situations when it is not safe to stay at home.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the Marshall Liberal Government was committed to supporting and keeping women and children safe.

“In some cases, it’s simply not safe for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence to remain at home – and that’s why these new crisis beds provide a much-needed accommodation boost to support this cohort,” said Minister Lensink.

“As well as providing short-term crisis accommodation, dedicated case managers assist women to plan their next steps while living in a safe place, including supporting women to return home safely, where possible, and into safe and stable housing.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to tackling the scourge of domestic, family and sexual violence.

“We’re delivering record funding to provide support and help to South Australians experiencing domestic violence – and will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure people feel safe, supported and know where to turn to for help.”

Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Carolyn Power said the crisis beds provide a safe place to stay and immediate support from specialist DV services.

“These services can be vital for those experiencing the trauma of fleeing domestic and family violence, as well as supporting them into safe, stable housing options, including returning to their own home safely, if possible,” said Mrs Power.

“Importantly, the crisis accommodation beds have been placed in areas of greatest need within South Australia as a result of the feedback we have received from the sector and the community, to ensure women and children have access to emergency accommodation when they need it.”

Women’s Safety Services SA Chief Executive Officer Maria Hagias said the new crisis accommodation provide a safe place – and support – for women experiencing domestic and family violence.

“Our services have been incredibly busy during the pandemic, so it is a relief knowing we have these beds ready for women and their children, rather than them needing to be placed in motel accommodation,” said Ms Hagias.

“During this time of self-isolation and working from home, not all women are able to reach out themselves, making it more important than ever that we look out for one another.

“If you are concerned about the safety of someone you know, we encourage you to call the 24/7 Domestic Violence Crisis Line on 1800 800 098.”

Following direct feedback from stakeholders and the community, the final nine of 40 beds will be used for a state-first perpetrator pilot, which will see perpetrators removed from the family home and provided with alternative accommodation and targeted support services.

Those beds are set to open imminently, as part of a program developed with South Australia Police and the domestic violence sector.

“We really hope the new perpetrator pilot program will not only help perpetrators with wrap around support, including mental health counselling services and drug and alcohol support – it will mean families can remain safely at home in what is already a very traumatic time,” said Minister Lensink.