Open Support is very pleased to announce that we have been awarded $70,000 from the Estate of The Late Harry Leslie Howden Bequest Trust, granted through the Perpetual IMPACT Funding Program.
The funds will be used to assist women and children on temporary visas escaping Domestic and Family Violence. In particular, they will allow us to provide transitional housing and specialist support to women and their children for up to 18 months, enabling them to live a life free from abuse and continue their journey towards recovery.
Domestic and Family Violence is a serious issue in Australia, with one woman every week losing her life as a result of gender-based violence. It is also the largest driver of homelessness for women. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, service providers in NSW have observed a 45 per cent increase in sexual, domestic or family violence and a 64 per cent increase in the complexity of client need.
Women on temporary visas are particularly vulnerable. Without access to income or support services such as Centrelink or Medicare, they have little choice but to become homeless or to remain in (or to return to) a violent home, which frequently results in further violence or death, for both them and their children. Many may feel additional pressure due to cultural factors, imposition of decisions made by extended family, or the prospect of losing connection with family, elders, religion and community. Perpetrators of violence against women on temporary visas often use these barriers to maintain power and control in the relationship.
Open Support is one of the few organisations that prioritises these women and we are committed to continuing to support them. Thanks to funding from generous donors such as the Estate of The Late Harry Leslie Howden Bequest Trust, we can also expand our provision of these much-needed services.