Two domestic violence safe houses in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven will be equipped with state-of-the-art security equipment, as perpetrators of domestic abuse turn to sophisticated devices to follow their victims.
Wollongong-based crisis accommodation service Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra (SAHSSI) received over $7500 from the IMB Bank Community Foundation for security devices to be installed at the service's womens' crisis accommodation in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
Business Development Manager Gillian Vickers said that camera systems would provide additional security for the women and children fleeing domestic violence who use the service's crisis accommodation.
"It's reassuring for the clients and the staff that we've got a state of the art system that allows for no hidden points on the property," she said.
"Should we have any breaches, we're able to have evidence to provide for the police."
Ms Vickers said the safe houses were secure and in undisclosed locations, however perpetrators of domestic violence were turning to more sophisticated methods such as installing tracking devices on a victim's mobile phone - and services such as SAHSSI had to respond in kind.
"We need to make sure we're prepared," she said.
At the same time, the organisation is seeing a spike in demand for its services.
There is currently a wait list of over 100 women which reached as high as 150 this year. A lack of affordable rentals meant that women were staying in crisis accommodation for longer, creating a bottleneck.
"It's difficult to get into the rental market and there's a long wait list for social housing," Ms Vickers said.
Figures released in August found the Illawarra-Shoalhaven had the longest wait for social housing of any region in NSW except for Northern NSW, with the median number of months applicants spent waiting sitting at 39 months or three and a quarter years.
Ms Vickers said the service was working overtime to support 1400 women in 2021-22, 50 per cent more than the number they were funded to support.
"There's definitely a need for more specialised homelessness services in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven," she said.
SAHSSI was one of 55 not-for-profit groups that shared in $700,000 from the IMB Bank Community Foundation. IMB Bank CEO Robert Ryan said support went to a diverse range of organisations in the Illawarra and around NSW.
"We are supporting a diverse range of projects that are making a real difference in their communities and striving for a better tomorrow," he said.
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