Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Safe Havens For Children In Indigenous Communities

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Honourable Warren Pitt, Queensland Minister for Communities Disability Services and Seniors

Four Indigenous communities in Queensland have been chosen as sites for “Safe Havens”, new temporary homes for children and young people wishing to escape potential harm caused by family violence.

The Australian and Queensland Governments will combine to provide almost $18 million in funding over three years for safe havens in Cherbourg, Mornington Island, Palm Island and Coen communities. The Queensland contribution is $10.2 million, and the Australian Government will contribute $7.5 million.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson and the Queensland Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, Warren Pitt, announced the funding today as part of a whole-of-government approach to addressing family violence in Indigenous communities.

Senator Patterson said that to ensure no child or young person in the community slips out of the loop because of differing responsibilities among various levels of government, services will adopt the “continuum of care” concept to respond better to community needs and priorities.

“The project, supported by the Australian Government’s $37.3 million Family Violence Partnership Programme (FVPP), is an example of how governments can combine with communities to share responsibility in facilitating safe and supportive family relationships within those communities,” Senator Patterson said.

Mr Pitt said the proposed Safe Havens, staffed by appropriately trained, qualified and supported workers, will pilot a flexible service model that can be easily adapted in other Indigenous communities in Queensland.

“The ‘Safe Havens: Feeling Safe, Belonging Place’ project aims to make sure each community is in control of the process of ensuring children and young people enjoy a better quality of life, and are free from the profound impacts of family violence.

“Safe Havens projects include strategies to address issues with perpetrators of violence, address substance abuse, and provide short-term intervention to make children and young people safe from exposure to violence,” he said.

“As part of the whole-of-government approach, agencies in each of the communities will coordinate and work collaboratively to integrate their services to raise community participation and control.”

Senator Patterson said that by working together with the communities, the Australian and Queensland Governments aim to develop a sustainable reduction in, and prevention of, family violence and child abuse.