North Coast

The WORTH team will be helping vulnerable Northern Rivers women with social, financial and medical services post the 2022 floods through more than $1.5 million in NSW Government funding. Image: Northern Rivers Women and Children’s Services

Outreach helping local women

Women across the Northern Rivers who feel vulnerable after the 2022 floods will have access to a new level of social, financial, and medical services, following more than $1.5 million announced by NSW Health and the Department of Communities and Justice for an outreach program in the region.

The Northern Rivers Women and Children’s Service NORWACS, will work with the Women’s Outreach Trauma Health Service WORTH to use the funding to enable support to be delivered to remote and regional areas across the Northern Rivers.

Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park said as a result of recent floods, many services had been physically destroyed, along with housing and transport, impacting access to essential services by vulnerable groups.

“Social inequalities experienced by women are magnified during and after natural disasters”, Minister Park said.

“The Northern Rivers region has experienced one emergency after another. First, it was the pandemic, then it was the floods.

“For women and children who have been impacted by domestic violence, these are particularly vulnerable times, with families facing economic pressures and possibly homelessness.

“That is why the work undertaken by the NORWACS emergency outreach program WORTH is so important.”

Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin welcomed the additional funding.

“It will give additional support to women and children who have suffered domestic violence, exacerbated by our years of disasters,” she said.

“NORWACS is an organisation committed to support and solutions.”

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison said domestic and family violence had seen an increase in the years preceding the pandemic and continued to climb across the state.

“This service will ensure that women, especially those escaping domestic violence, who need access to critical services have access to them, when and where they need it,” she said.

NORWACS General Manager, Kelly Banister, said NORWACS is committed to providing a tangible, proactive solution to alleviate as much disadvantage as possible while the region rebuilds.

She said the outreach program will lead a team of qualified support workers from NORWACS and partner organisations who will visit communities to engage with local women and identify their needs, provide services and support community access to other services providers.

“The Women’s Outreach Trauma Health Service will connect services across health, mental health, domestic violence and housing to support vulnerable women and create better outcomes,” she said.

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