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Ray of hope as Yellow Gate ‘domestic violence prevention’ hub opens

A new domestic violence prevention and recovery hub opened in Adelaide’s south this morning – following the deaths of four women and six years of persistent lobbying for a safe place in the region.

Dec 01, 2023, updated Dec 01, 2023
Minister Katrine Hildyard at a rally last week calling for a Royal Commission into violence against women. Photo: Tony Lewis

Minister Katrine Hildyard at a rally last week calling for a Royal Commission into violence against women. Photo: Tony Lewis

The Domestic Violence Prevention and Recovery Hub, called The Yellow Gate, is expected to support “and empower women experiencing violence” along with raising community awareness and prevention.

Community Justice Services SA will operate the new hub and chief executive officer Catherine McMorrine said the opening followed six years of lobbying over “the need for a safe place for women in the south” by community group Southern Domestic Violence Action.

“Given recent incidents of violence against women in SA it is more important than ever to be able to provide a safe place for women in the south to access information, services and support when needed,” McMorrine said.

Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Minister Katrine Hildyard said yellow represented the positivity and hope of sunflowers, and the hub at Noarlunga’s Colonnades Shopping Centre was one of two promised for the north and south of the city with $1 million funding.

Its opening comes after calls from the Liberals, Greens and SA Best in supporting the sector’s plea to establish a Royal Commission after what was described as the worst week for fatal domestic violence in the nation’s history.

Premier Peter Malinauskas yesterday committed to meeting key sector leaders over the Royal Commission demand, after four women died in South Australia in one week, allegedly at the hands of men they knew.

Hundreds of women and men gathered at a North Terrace rally last week to back calls for an urgent meeting between Embolden – the state’s peak body for family, domestic and sexual violence – and the Premier and for the establishment of a Royal Commission into violence against women.

Jodie Jewell was shot dead by her estranged husband Kevin Jewell on November 21, his body was later found on Yorke Peninsula.

Three other women have been allegedly killed by a man known to them: at Felixstow on November 15, near Port Augusta on November 16, and in Morphett Vale on November 19. Three men have been charged with murder.

The Opposition has committed to establishing a commission, with Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence spokesman Josh Teague saying “one death alone as the result of family and domestic violence is one too many and we must be pulling out all stops to end this terrible scourge”.

Shadow Minister for Women Michelle Lensink said there were clearly gaps in SA’s approach that need to be addressed.

“South Australian women deserve to feel safe – especially in their own homes and out in the community – and we must find out how we can better protect women by reviewing the services and systems that are currently in place,” she said.

Hildyard and Malinauskas, who returned from paternity leave this week after the birth of his son, are planning to meet with key sector representatives “in the next fortnight” to gauge whether a commission is the best way forward.

Yesterday, Malinauskas said a royal commission was not ruled out but he said one was relatively recently held in Victoria and the government would look at whether SA could “learn from that experience”.

The state government has drafted the Criminal Law Consolidation (Coercive Control) Amendment Bill 2023 – which creates a new criminal offence of coercive control – that it intends introducing to Parliament next year.

The Bill defines when controlling behaviours against intimate partners will be punishable by the criminal justice system. The government originally said the Bill would be introduced this year.

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In March, the government also launched a public awareness campaign targeting young people to ‘see the signs’ of coercive control across social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat.

Funding was also returned to Catherine House – a service providing crisis, longer term accommodation and support services to women experiencing homelessness often through domestic violence – after being cut by the former Liberal Government.

Hildyard said the hub opened today provided crucial early intervention.

“The earlier that women experiencing violence can access support, the more likely they are to be safe,” she said.

“The hub fulfils an election commitment and brings together services within a safe, accessible space where southern suburbs women can drop in, access information, referrals and other supports, and maintain community connection.”

domestic violence

New domestic violence prevention hub The Yellow Gate opens this morning. From left: Amanda Rishworth, Katrine Hildyard and Catherine McMorrine. Photo: supplied

Federal funding is also going to the hub. Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth attended today’s launch, saying Australian governments just over one year ago launched the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2023.

She said federal funding backed the hub through a commitment to have 500 more frontline service and community workers to support women and children experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence.

Two staff members will operate the hub, and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network’s Yarrow Place will deliver counselling and medical services from the site.

Plans are being finalised for a third staff member at the hub to deliver First Nations family violence strategies.

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