Morrison must reinstate funding to NT Women's shelters

08 November 2019

The Morrison Government must reinstate funding to one of Darwins vital domestic violence accommodation services supporting Aboriginal families in crisis.

This Government talks about Closing the Gap yet at the same time is cutting emergency funding to an Aboriginal-run domestic violence service.

The Darwin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Womens Shelter (DAIWS) was informed on 30 September that funding for its emergency relief programs would cease at the end of this year, and to direct its clients to mainstream services.

DAIWS provides two 24-hour Domestic Violence Crisis accommodation for women and children escaping domestic, family violence, and sexual abuse and assault. It provides eight transitional housing units, domestic violence outreach programs for women and children, and the Darwin Indigenous Mens Service which is unique to the community, providing culturally appropriate programs run by Aboriginal men for vulnerable men.

Womens refuges in Tennant Creek and Katherine have also seen their funding cut and have been told to move clients to mainstream services.

DAIWS General Manager Regina Bennett said:

Im really worried about our clients. Its going to be bedlam. Weve been told to transition clients to other organisations. Only one of those organisations is Aboriginal-operated. The program has been very critical for our clients, and to lose it and have to seek assistance from the mainstream organisations is very demeaning, insulting, and time wasting.

I was under the impression that as part of closing the gap for Aboriginal people, that Aboriginal organisations would be considered as the best placed service, which provides culturally appropriate programs to our vulnerable families.

If we lose the emergency relief program, this is going to widen the gap, instead of closing the gap for our Aboriginal families in crisis.


DAIWS is an Aboriginal Domestic Violence Service which provides safe and culturally appropriate services for predominately Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children who are escaping Domestic and Family Violence, sexual abuse, and who are homeless. The service that is provided is two DV Crisis accommodation, transitional housing accommodation, case management support, family violence outreach programs and services. DAIWS has been operating for the past 33 years, and is governed by a board of Directors (7 Aboriginal women). DAIWS employs 95% Aboriginal staff, and employs 30 staff members who works on 6 of DAIWS sites, which includes 3 Aboriginal men in the Darwin Indigenous Mens Service (DIMS).