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Rosemary Long, Rachel Willis and Michelle Meares

Central Coast Lawyers donate $4,000 to Domestic Violence Program

The Central Coast Regional Law Society, which represents more than 180 lawyers across the Central Coast today donated $4,000 to ‘Rondeley’, the Central Coast’s Domestic Violence Program which provides crisis accommodation and assists with finding more permanent housing for women and children escaping domestic violence on the Central Coast.

The donation will be used for two “Get House Ready” kits. The kits, which include whitegoods and appliances will assist Rondeley to furnish new homes for women and children leaving their homes to escape domestic violence.

On 20 August 2019, Rosemary Long, President of the Central Coast Regional Law Society and Michelle Meares, one of its Committee members delivered a cheque for $4000 to Rachel Willis, Chief Executive Officer of Coast Shelter on behalf of the Rondeley Program. Ms Long said: “Lawyers on the Central Coast deal with the victims of domestic violence on a daily basis through the Gosford and Wyong Local and District Courts and the family lawyers of the Central Coast are also assisting clients with domestic violence regularly.”

Recent Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) data shows the Central Coast rate of domestic violence is on a sharp increase and the region now has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in New South Wales. In 2017, the region overtook Blacktown with a rate of 76.1 personal AVOs per 100,000 population compared to the south west Sydney area’s 56.2 AVOs. From 2017 to 2018, the rate of increase of domestic AVOs on the Coast has alarmingly doubled.

The grant was made with the assistance of a Regional Grant from the Law Society of NSW. The Central Coast Regional Law Society is one of 29 regional law societies within NSW which represents and advocates for its members at the Law Society of NSW.  A grant is available annually for each region from the Law Society of NSW and the Central Coast Law Society chose this year to assist Rondeley Domestic Violence Program (part of Coast Shelter) which supports women with or without children who are escaping domestic violence. The Rondeley Program provides practical and moral support, as well as crisis accommodation in five cottages, following which the staff can assist clients secure more permanent housing.

A Central Coast woman who recently was assisted by the program to set up a new home for herself and her children said “it was a very dangerous situation for myself and the children and Rondeley supported me from when I first made contact with the program. They kept myself and the children safe and didn’t judge me. I doubt I could have been strong enough to leave without their support. I felt like I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel without them. Their program helped me regain my strength and helped me get back on my feet again.”