Safe haven at home – Protecting people at risk

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Executive Director of Safe Haven, Paul Ferry and Founder Denise Hunter

Imagine if your sister, son, best friend or grandchild was suffering at the hands of domestic abuse.That’s the message Paul Ferry, Director of Safe Haven Community wants residents to consider when deciding to offer a spare room for domestic abuse sufferers.

Mr Ferry said Ipswich residents suffering domestic abuse now have access to temporary accommodation via the Safe Haven Community website before the situation escalates to violence.

“Safe Haven is a little bit like AirBnb for people fleeing domestic abuse,” Mr Ferry said.

“People that have a spare room in their home can donate that room by registering it on the Safe Haven website and people that are fleeing their relationships before it gets to a domestic violence relationship can contact us through a referral or directly and we’ll find a match for them.

“People can be in an abusive relationship for up to fifteen years before it becomes violent, but the emotional pain caused over that period time is so damaging.”

Mr Ferry stresses that intervention before a relationship turns violent can not only help prevent serious injury or death for domestic abuse sufferers, but can also assist in breaking the cycle for children witnessing emotional abuse.

“Emotional abuse is not only damaging for the person it’s directed at, but also for any children growing up in that environment will be affected long term,” Mr Ferry said.

“It means twenty years down the track they may find themselves in a relationship where they are abused or are the abuser, because for them that’s all they know and how they think relationships should be.”

Safe Haven Community launched at the end of August this year, targeting the South East Queensland region.

Unfortunately, no Ipswich homes have yet been registered as ‘safe havens.’

Accommodation providers must undergo a police check and provide 100 points of identity for the safety of both guests and providers.

To donate, register your home or to get help, visit safehavencommunity.com.au or call 18 000 HAVEN.