Politicians from across the spectrum joined Ballina Women’s Refuge campaign ambassador Mandy Nolan recently at The Cove Restaurant to launch a fundraising campaign for Momentum Collective’s Women and Children’s Refuge.
The Ballina refuge provides a safe place for over 130 women and children escaping domestic and family violence each year and requires ongoing funding to deliver accommodation, as well as vital domestic and family violence support services.
In a multi-partisan show of support, NSW MLC Catherine Cusack and MPs Tamara Smith and Janelle Saffin all pitched in to help launch the fundraising campaign.
Mandy Nolan was the keynote speaker. ‘Violence is not a women’s issue, it is a whole of community issue,’ she said.
‘As someone who grew up in domestic violence I know what it’s like to be a child and not have a safe space. As a woman who later lived in domestic violence, I know what it is like to feel the complex stigma.
‘It is particularly difficult for women and children in regional areas to find safe space when they are moving away from violence,’ said Ms Nolan. ‘We know this is the time they are most at risk.
‘This is why places like the Ballina Women and Children’s Refuge are so important. It provides the support and the protection so that women can start to rebuild their lives.’
DV everybody’s business
Momentum Collective’s Service Director Sarah Dybing said the campaign launch demonstrated that domestic and family violence is everybody’s business.
‘We appreciate the fact that our local MPs have come together here today to support the Ballina Women and Children’s refuge. It is the only safe harbour for women and children escaping family and domestic violence in our local community,’ she said.
‘Momentum Collective became involved to support the refuge in 2019, and began operating it in 2020, to ensure the doors remained opened. We now want to ensure the refuge can continue to operate with ongoing support services, said Ms Dybing.
‘Like the rest of Australia, Ballina is experiencing a housing crisis with a shortfall of affordable housing. It is vital that women and children in Ballina have a safe and stable place to go when they need to leave a violent and abusive environment.’
Last year the Ballina community rallied to help renovate and refurbish the refuge, ensuring that women and children seeking support would feel welcome and comfortable in the house.
Ms Dybing said, ‘Our team has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Ballina community with so many pitching in to help us. A number of small businesses have organised fundraising events and Ballina on Richmond Rotary has been a constant supporter.
‘I would invite all of our local businesses to get on board with fundraising events and everyone in the community to help us by donating to the campaign.
‘Every little bit helps us keep women and children safe and allows us to support families to overcome the trauma and upheaval brought on by domestic and family violence,’ said Ms Dybing.
Tamara puts her money where her mouth is
Ballina MP Tamara Smith said she was pleased to be part of a campaign that rallies the community together to care for women and children in Ballina.
‘As a community, it is our duty to ensure that the women and children in our community are safe, and it is heartening to see organisations such as Momentum taking the lead in this campaign,’ she said.
‘I am proud to be part of a community where leaders are accepting the challenge to eradicate all violence towards women. I support Momentum Collective’s fundraising campaign and I will continue to advocate for better services to support the most vulnerable in our community.’
Ms Smith kicked off the fundraising with a $1500 pledge from her own pay packet.
State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin congratulated Momentum Collective’s refuge and its dedicated staff for the crucial support they provide for women fleeing domestic violence and coercive behaviour on a daily basis.
‘Having managed the Lismore Women’s Refuge a while ago now, I know it takes a mix of funding and philanthropy to keep the doors open,’ said Ms Saffin.
‘I acknowledge the strong level of backing from Rotary and Ballina’s business community, and urge all locals to donate to the fundraising campaign.’
Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot recognised and thanked local organisations and businesses for their strong support and fundraising efforts to assist the Ballina Women’s and Children’s refuge.
‘As a former police officer, I’ve seen firsthand how vital women’s refuges are in providing crisis accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Momentum Collective has stepped up to do their part in helping vulnerable women and children.
‘The local community has also shown massive support,’ said Ms Eliot.
To get behind the Ballina Women’s and Children’s refuge fundraising effort and keep the positive momentum going, visit the Momentum Collective’s site: www.mymomentum.org.au/donate/