Regional family violence support service officially opens doors

COMMUNITY SERVICES

Victoria Stone-Meadows

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Cairns Regional Domestic Violence services programs manager Sandi Baker and CEO Amanda Lee-Ross at the opening of their Mossman office. Image: Victoria Stone-Meadows.
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Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Services officially opened their Douglas Shire office in Mossman this morning to showcase their new space for regional support services.

The new office, on the corner of Mill Street and Junction Road, provides a safe space for victims of domestic services to access support.

CEO of Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Services, Amanda Lee-Ross, said it’s great to have the new space for their services in the Douglas Shire.

“We have been here for just over 12 months but it took a while to find a location that would be suitable for our needs,” she said.

“We thought it was a good idea to do an official launch even though we have been seeing clients for quite some time already.”

The opening was attended by representatives of other community service providers, police, Douglas Shire Councillors, and residents.


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Ms Lee-Ross said having other service providers see the space for themselves would make it easier for them to refer clients as they would know what to expect when they arrived.

“It’s really difficult for people facing DV to just walk through the door,” she said.

“When you walk through the door says DV service, you are saying ‘I am in DV’ so if other service providers have been here and seen what it’s like they can help people walk through our doors.”

The Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service provides counselling and support to adult and child victims of family violence including court support, mental health, and referral to other services.

Ms Lee-Ross said the services they provide are crucial to victims in regional areas and it’s important they have a presence here in the community.

“There is always a need for a locally based option for DV services,” she said.

“One person suffering from DV is one person too many. It’s really good the funding body recognised there was a need for service here in Mossman rather than thinking people were able or would want to travel further afield.

“The fact we can actually be in the community with workers who live fairly close by, I think is really important.”

The new space has been designed to be welcoming to victims and Programs Manager, Sandi Baker, said they have worked hard to provide the right environment for people.

“It was all about trying to ensure it is a welcome space and warm space,” Ms Baker said.

“It’s calm and feels like a place of safety. This is a space where people hopefully feel like they won’t be judged but will also be able to take a breath and talk about what they are going through and make those next plans.

“The nature of the work in rural and regional are is different from urban areas. While the number of people may not reflect what we see in places like cairns Cairns, the nature of the work is much more intense.

“We are one of a few services in this region and sometimes the work we all do is a lot more intensive.”

Ms Lee-Ross said they work closely with other services in the area and said the organisation looks forward to continuing and strengthening those relationships.

The Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service also operates an outreach service from the Port Douglas Neighbourhood Centre on Mondays.

Queensland Police Country Patrol Group Inspector Rhys Newton said these kinds of services in the community help keep people safe in their homes.

“Unfortunately for a lot of communities across Queensland, and certainly in the North, domestic and family violence is a huge challenge for us," he said.

“There needs to be a huge shift in the culture of communities and there needs to be an integration of services that support victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

“That’s the ongoing challenge and a facility like this makes waves in all those areas, especially with the integration of services; it provides direct support to victims and perpetrators and makes the community safer which is what it is all about.

“For people, especially women and children, to not feel safe in their own homes is abhorrent.”

In the last 12 months, according to Queensland Police Statistics, there were 73 incidents of breaches of Family Violence Protection Orders in Mossman and seven incidents in Port Douglas.


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