Date published: 
31 March 2019
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Liberal National Government will provide $2.3 million for a pilot program in 10 regional centres in Western Australia for people living in an unhealthy environment of domestic violence.

The Breaking the Silence program aims to help all regional communities gain access to support and services so that every person in any relationship feels safe and respected and free from any form of violence or oppression.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said on average at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia.

The funding of $2.3 million will be over a three period commencing in 2019/20 and will resource Breaking the Silence with a capacity to;

  • Extended Website access
  • 24/7 Domestic Violence Counsellor access to 10 regions
  • Improved case management for victims and perpetrators
  • Enhanced support for victims through peer support
  • Improved analysis of Domestic Violence data—including analysis at local geographical levels

The Breaking the Silence program is the brainchild of Esperance woman and author Fleur McDonald who started the not-for-profit organisation in 2017 to support women, men and children suffering from the effects of domestic violence.

Founder Fleur McDonald saw a need for individuals living remotely to have access to a wide range of support and information usually found many kilometres away in metro centres.

Living on the land herself for many years, Fleur knows the feeling of isolation, with a lack of access to services, transport and telecommunications, as well as the ongoing concern of confidentiality in small towns where everyone knows everyone.

“I recognised the need for people living remotely to have access to a wide range of support and information usually only found many kilometres away,” Ms McDonald said.

Ms McDonald began by launching a website specific to Esperance and later Albany and this funding will extend and localise access to 10 further regional shires with the provision of 24/7 online and phone counselling services specific to regional residents experiencing or dealing with family and domestic violence.

Federal Member for Durack and Minister for the Environment Melissa Price said she’s thrilled to see funding for the Breaking the Silence pilot program.

“This program is aimed at addressing the growing incidence of domestic violence in rural and remote regions of WA where there is no other support for those impacted by violent and oppressive relationships,” Ms Price said.

“It is believed that one in four regional, remote or rural women will suffer some form of domestic abuse within their lifetime and that is totally unacceptable.”

“I am particularly thrilled to see that many of the regional centres to be provided support are located in the Durack electorate.”

Federal Member for Pearce, Christian Porter said the announcement is great news for the people of Northam.

“The Breaking the Silence pilot program is a critical initiative which seeks to provide those affected by domestic violence in regional and remote WA with appropriate and dedicate support. The program is an important step in completely eradicating all instances of domestic violence.”

Federal Member for Forrest, Nola Marino said it is important that local people who need support for domestic violence know that help is available and how to access that help locally.

“I welcome this pilot program to enhance access to domestic violence services for people in my electorate because those in regional areas can encounter additional barriers when seeking assistance.”

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said anyone experiencing domestic violence, in any form, needs to have access to high-quality support services, no matter where they live.

“I welcome this announcement and the establishment of domestic violence support services for O’Connor.”

The towns and regions to be supported by the work of Breaking the Silence are;

  • City of Greater Geraldton
  • Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley
  • City of Karratha
  • Shire of Yilgarn
  • Shire of Ashburton
  • Town of Port Hedland 
  • The combined shires of Dalwallinu, Wongan Ballidu, Dowerin, Wyalkatchem and Goomalling
  • City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
  • City of Bunbury
  • Shire of Northam