Women and children experiencing domestic and family violence in Orange can access ‘The Orchard’, a safe haven offering accommodation, support and safety to families in need.
The Orchard, run by social enterprise Housing Plus, is the first of its kind in NSW, offering families private, independent units to recover from the violence and re-establish routines.
Federal Member for Calare, and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education, Andrew Gee said the establishment of The Orchard in Orange will transform lives.
“Every Australian deserves to feel safe and secure, especially at home. However for many women and children, we know that this is not the case,” Mr Gee said.
“The community of Orange has been advocating for a purpose-built crisis facility for several years and with rates of violence at double the NSW average – The Orchard could not have come sooner.
“I said in my inaugural speech to the Australian Parliament that delivering this refuge was a key priority that I intended to pursue.
“I am proud that the Australian Government has contributed over $1.118 million to the project under the Building Better Regions Fund.
“Domestic violence is a crime and tragically is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children.
“When women make the decision to leave it is vital that they have somewhere to go. Without a crisis centre, women and children are often forced to uproot their lives, leaving their home, employment, schools and family support behind.
“The Orchard will provide emergency accommodation and access to specialist family and domestic violence services to approximately 72 families each year.
“Unlike communal refuges, which can re-traumatise victims, The Orchard consists of private villas, landscaped gardens, meetings rooms and a crèche.
“This facility will help women and children rebuild their lives, free of violence.”
David Fisher, Chief Executive Officer of Housing Plus said that campaigning for the crisis centre began in the 1990s.
“We commenced fundraising in 2017 and since then have raised $3.9 million,” Mr Fisher said.
“We are proud to be delivering the first purpose built domestic violence crisis centre following the core and cluster design in NSW.
“We couldn’t have achieved what we have without the support we received from the Orange community, local businesses and the Government at Federal, State and Local levels.”