Two new family violence refuges in Mildura and Morwell will provide safe and secure crisis accommodation as well as more privacy and independence to women and children escaping family violence next year.
They are the first two regional refuges being redeveloped across the state as part of a $70 million investment program to upgrade all of Victoria’s 17 refuges, following the Royal Commission into Family Violence’s recommendation to phase out communal style refuges.
Two new refuges will open in metropolitan Melbourne next year.
The program also includes funding to build two new Aboriginal family violence refuges.
Under the new model, the new refuges will include a mix of one, two and three bedroomed self-contained units for women and children, all of which will offer disability access, with on-site support services delivered 24/7.
The new model seeks to address a number of barriers that many women and children face when seeking crisis accommodation. Currently, most refuges in Victoria are communal with women sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities, as well as sharing bedrooms with their children.
The new style refuges aim to offer women and children more privacy and independence. This level of independent living provides greater accessibility and private areas to access support for people with mental health or complex needs.
The new model also provides onsite support services delivered by the refuge provider and allows for visiting services to provide outreach to clients during their refuge stay to ensure their needs are met while safety and security is prioritised.
Once it is opened, the new refuge in Morwell will replace an existing communal refuge and will increase capacity to accommodate up to seven households at any one time, compared to the four households that can be accommodated currently.
The new refuge in Mildura will also replace an existing communal refuge and increase capacity to accommodate up to six households at any one time, compared to four households currently.
It is expected an additional 50-60 families each year will be able to access refuge accommodation across the state once the 17 refuges have been redeveloped and two new Aboriginal refuges built.
Reviewed 23 June 2021