A Brisbane-based charity wants to grow an Australia-wide network of spare rooms in private homes to help people escape domestic problems before they explode into violence.
Safe Haven Community began operating in Brisbane in September 2017 and already has 150 “spare rooms” volunteered around south-east Queensland.
Advertising worker Paul Ferry spoke at a disappointingly small rally in Brisbane’s Queen’s Park next to Treasury Casino in George Street on Sunday where he explained the fledgling idea from Denise Hunter, which now houses more than 50 people.
Mr Ferry is the executive director of Save Haven Community and he was one of the speakers where men rallied to support women.
The rally asked men to play a larger role in questioning the silent perception that women can be struck, beaten or sexually abused by some men.
“It is a registered charity which helps people who are in abusive relationships, not yet violent relationships,” Mr Ferry said.
“So that might include psychologically abusive relationships, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse, controlling behaviour,” he said.
“But not yet punching, or burning and stabbing and strangling.”
Mr Ferry said people volunteer a spare room in their house.
“And people seem to be willing to donate those spare rooms to help someone be safe and happy,” he said.
“They are often in strongly violent physical relationships,” Mr Ferry said.
Other groups help the homeless or people with drug problems.
Queensland government figures show 306 people go to shelters every night, up from 250 people three years ago.
Safe Haven Community works with people who are not facing direct physical threats and before the problems fester, he said.
“Those people have no support, because they are not ‘emergency enough’,” he said.
“It is like they have to wait until they are ‘emergency enough’ before any agency can help.”
Safe Haven wants to stop people from becoming domestic violence victims by helping them exit abusive relationships.
“The people who donate the rooms and the houses are all police-checked and ready to go and inducted,” Mr Ferry said.
“We make sure we understand the motives of the people that are offering up their rooms.
The private rooms cost about $25 a night or $175 a week.
Mr Ferry said Safe Haven Community was starting small, but hoped to grow to an Australia-wide network.
“First things first,” he said. “We have to walk before we can learn how to run. We are growing slowly into the south-east Queensland corner, but over the next 12 months, we will be putting a big push on a national roll-out.”
He said the courses need to be reconsidered to become a useful domestic violence circuit-breaker.
He also added some men were just ticking the box and getting their court clearance.
“You just don’t break through their denial in three months,” Mr Sullivan said.
“I’ve worked in America and we had six-month programs over there. In the States they have 18-month programs.
“I believe we are lifting the lid (on domestic violence) but it is hard.
“I think a lot of men do want to change their behavior, but we are short-changing them the way to do it.”
Safe Haven Community inquries to www.safehavencommunity.com.au
Read the full article on the Brisbane Times website HERE
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