SOS Women’s Services calling for cash injection into DV services in NSW Budget

STRONG: Jules Thompson, from Nelson Bay, left her abusive relationship in 2012 with only the shirt on her back. The red shirt is a reminder of how far she has come since. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
STRONG: Jules Thompson, from Nelson Bay, left her abusive relationship in 2012 with only the shirt on her back. The red shirt is a reminder of how far she has come since. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

A NELSON Bay woman has shared her domestic violence story as part of a campaign aimed at the NSW Government’s upcoming state budget.

Jules Thompson’s hope is that by sharing her story, included in SOS Women’s Services booklet Stories of Survival, the government will “put its money where its mouth is” and make domestic violence services and refuges a priority in the June budget.

“My hope is that the government puts its money where its mouth is and stops cutting funding to refuges like Yacaaba [Centre], and instead pours money into them,” Mrs Thompson said. 

“I’m really hoping this booklet wakes the government up firstly, and secondly empowers abuse victims to get out.”

Stories of Survival features 14 voices, shared by women right across NSW. Mrs Thompson’s story is shared under the name Amber. The booklet has been sent to MP’s across the state. 

Roxanne McMurry from SOS Women’s Services said the move was to highlight the need for more domestic violence-specific funding in the upcoming NSW budget.

“The NSW Government made a welcome commitment of $60 million last year but refuges are still turning away thousands of women a year,” Ms McMurray said. “We need more help with housing for women and children escaping violence.

“SOS has put together interviews of women who have recently experienced domestic violence to highlight the continuing need for housing. While some women used refuges, others told us they could never get in.”

Mrs Thompson said it was a “disgrace” that so many women were turned away from refuges, and often forced to return to the homes they were trying to flee otherwise face homlessness. 

It was fortunate that when Mrs Thompson left her abusive husband in 2012 that she was able to get into a refuge on the Gold Coast. But that was only the start of a new journey of horrors, where Mrs Thompson was hospitalised and her children taken away from her.

Despite re-marrying and moving to Nelson Bay, Mrs Thompson was still receiving verbal abuse from her ex-husband. She decided “enough was enough” in December 2015 and went to Nelson Bay Police Station to inquire about an AVO and was referred to the Yacaaba Centre. 

“Women’s services like Yacaaba [Centre] are needed so badly,” she said. “It was thanks to the police I was referred to them and I’m now getting the help I should have been getting a long time ago. Yacaaba and refuges are so important and need funding because there’s so many women and children who need help.”

Read Stories of Survival at soswomensservices.com.

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