Urgent call for safe house

Oct 31, 2023

Victoria Daly Regional Council are currently in the process of applying for grant funding to build a Safe House in Timber Creek and are seeking support from the NT and Australian Government to fund the operations of the Safe House once it is established.

The Safe House is urgently required, not just for Timber Creek residents, but for the whole region, which includes the surrounding communities of Gilwi, One Mile, Gulardi, Myatt, Menngen, Bulla and Amanbidji.

Community leaders have sheltered women in their homes in the past, putting themselves and their families at risk. Health workers have sometimes had to sit up all night with victims in the clinic, and nurses and police officers sometimes have to make a 580 kilometre round trip to escort victims to the shelter in Katherine (which then pulls resources from the region) (source).

Councillor for Timber Creek, Deborah Jones said, “We have been waiting (for a safe house) for many years…we want to see it built and ready for use”. Deborah explained that it is difficult for women to travel to Katherine, especially if they have children. She said if they had a safe house in Timber Creek “…it would be much better because they’d be close to home”.

Indigenous women are 8 times more likely to die of homicide than non-Indigenous women and are 32 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault-related injuries. In the Northern Territory, these rates are even higher (source).

There has been a significant increase in the number of police responses to domestic family violence incidents in Timber Creek over the past 5 years, from 11 incidents in 2018-19, to 41 in 2020-21 and 33 in 2021-22 (source). However, clinicians and social workers from Katherine West Health Board and Katherine Women’s Crisis Centre respectively, believe these figures are significantly understated.

Victoria Daly Regional Council Mayor, Brian Pedwell said, “Domestic violence greatly impacts on communities, it affects everybody.”

“If the government is serious about domestic violence issues, then they should commit to funding the ongoing operations once the Safe House has been built. We don’t want a white elephant,” Mayor Pedwell said.

Council have also requested a meeting with Minister for the Prevention of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence, Honourable Kate Worden.


Media contact: Kim Maskell  0477 970 963  kim.maskell@vicdaly.nt.gov.au