Local domestic violence and homelessness support service, Jenny’s Place is inviting the corporate community to join their Empowered Walk on Sunday 26 November to help create a collective and united force to end the cycle of gender-based violence.
The Hunter region has seen a significant increase in the incidence of domestic violence over the last five years, with the June 2023 Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reporting a 17.8 per cent increase in domestic violence assaults across the Hunter, and 14.3 per cent increase in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
Jenny’s Place Executive Manager, Marcia Chapman says the statistics released are only the recorded incidence and with 60 per cent of assaults going unreported, the actual incidence of domestic and family violence is dire.
“We have been helping local women and children impacted by domestic violence and homelessness for over 46 years and there is no question that our service has experienced heightened calls for assistance from the periods of COVID lockdown through to today’s current economic downtown,” Marcia said.
“The increasing financial burdens and the associated housing crisis are a pressure cooker for perpetrators of domestic abuse and our service continues to operate above our funded capacity.”
Sadly, domestic and family violence remains the leading cause of homelessness for women In Australia and Jenny’s Place crisis and transition accommodation program is stretched to meet the growing social need.
Their outreach and Domestic Violence Resource Centre casework teams are similarly inundated with client referrals for support.
“Right now, many women are staying in, or returning to, violent relationships because they simply can’t access affordable housing, either through social housing channels or the private rental market. We are doing everything possible to support women to secure alternate housing so their safety, and the safety of their children, can be prioritised.”
“More than ever, we need a united voice for social and systemic change. We need more social and affordable housing aimed at women and children experiencing DFV, and put simply, we need more funding, so we can give women and children the immediate and long-term support they need to leave violence and never look back.”
Jenny’s Place is urging individuals, families, friends and corporate teams to register for the Empowered Walk to provide a visible and intentional call for action and change.
“Corporate teams have been a popular presence at the Empowered Walk in years past and getting your workplace involved further demonstrates a companywide commitment to protecting women and children in our community,” she continued.
“We’d love to create a sea of people in purple Empowered Walk shirts at the Newcastle Foreshore on 26 November. It’s a chance to show solidarity for all the brave women and children impacted by domestic and family violence, and an opportunity to help address the incidence and impact of DV in our community.”
Empowered Walk individual and team registrations are now open.
IMAGE | The Leah Jay team supporting The Empowered Walk in recent years.