Refuge under pressure amid rising violence figures

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
98 per cent of women seeking refuge are escaping domestic violence.
Camera Icon98 per cent of women seeking refuge are escaping domestic violence. Credit: Mary Meagher.

Hedland Women’s Refuge has helped 300 women and children within the past 12 months, as domestic violence figures rise a staggering 163 per cent.

South Hedland Senior Sergeant Dean Snashall said there had been 397 domestic assaults reported in Hedland this year compared to 151 at the same time last year.

Refuge manager Kylie Rogerson said 98 per cent of women seeking refuge were escaping domestic violence, with 26-35 year olds the most common age group.

Ms Rogerson said the refuge helped to empower women to break the cycle of domestic violence by providing an outlet to feel safe, rest and recuperate.

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“On the surface, it all looks like it’s drug and alcohol- related but it’s a lot more deep-seated,” she said.

Common signs of domestic violence were said to be financial worries and a lack of education in women and young girls. Ms Rogerson said 75 per cent of women had not completed high school and 95 per cent were unemployed.

“We create a safe environment for women who have gone through domestic violence or who are in a crisis situation with homelessness,” she said.

“They are able to come here, recuperate, relax and get their mind back in order and set some plans for themselves to move further along in their plans.”

According to the refuge centre, 30 per cent of women are referred by police, 30 per cent are self-referred and 20 per cent are referred by hospital.

The rest come from crisis care or through a legal agency.

The centre received a funding boost with a grant in the 2017 Pilbara Community Chest Fund earlier this year through Royalties for Regions.

Ms Rogerson said the centre was in talks with BHP Billiton to upgrade lounge room and kitchen facilities.

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