- Join Got Your Back Sista and stand up to domestic violence at the Newcastle Knights versus Canterbury Bulldogs NRL game on July 12. Register at https://www.mycause.com.au/events/2019gybsknights
JENNY's Place Domestic Violence Resource Centre should be prioritised to receive government funding ideally renewed every three years, according to Newcastle federal MP Sharon Claydon.
The Newcastle Herald reported on Thursday the centre - which provides education, information, referrals to specialist services and advocacy - was seeking donations to avoid closure.
It doesn't receive government funding and survived for more than a decade on donations, before Port Waratah Coal Services provided two years of funds that will run out in September.
Ms Claydon said she had written to federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator Anne Ruston, asking the government to urgently allocate funds to the centre.
"The incredible value of this service is it works to prevent and mitigate violence," Ms Claydon said. "It's unimaginable to think, where will these women go without this information, referral and advocacy service?
"The refuges are absolutely overstretched and are turning people away. It just seems to me you take this out of the equation and the overstretched refuge and outreach sector will just implode. It's unconscionable to allow a vital frontline service working with women and children escaping violence to be funded by community donations or corporate goodwill. The safety of women and children should not be reduced to begging cap in hand for funding."
She said she would meet with staff next week to discuss a proposal for government funding.
Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp said it was "critical this service is safeguarded" and wrote to NSW Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman for funding.
A spokesperson for Ms Ruston said the government "made the largest ever Commonwealth investment of $328 million towards the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children", including $82 million for frontline services.
"All organisations delivering these important services are encouraged to contact the department to find out if they are eligible for funding," the spokesperson said. "The Minister's office had not been contacted by either of the Labor MPs about this issue until 4pm on July 5. The Minister is more than happy to consider all requests for assistance in this area."
Mr Speakman said the government had delivered more than $1.4 million to Jenny's Place in 2019-2020 for homelessness services. He said it had provided more than $240,000 in 2019-2020 to deliver the Staying Home, Leaving Violence service in Newcastle and more than $1.5 million in 2019-20 for the Hunter's Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service.