Anglicare Sydney is one of the partners helping people who have experienced family, domestic or sexual violence in southwestern Sydney.

“This program aims to fill a gap in services for victim-survivors,” said Dr Keith McDonald, CEO of the South Western Sydney Primary Health Network - a nonprofit organisation that is delivering the new program with Federal Government funding.  

“Anglicare Sydney and CatholicCare Sydney will work with existing services, which provide short-term and crisis support, to ensure the thousands of people affected by domestic violence-related assault in our region have every support they need to get back on their feet.”

The two organisations will deliver the key mental health component of the Supporting Recovery program, which is aimed not at people in crisis, but those needing access to longer-term recovery and healing support.

Lynda Dunstan, Anglicare Sydney’s Family and Domestic Violence Advisor, says, “So often survivors of domestic family and sexual violence have to retell their story to many different services as they try to navigate their recovery, and it’s likely the abuser is still impacting them and their children, even if they have separated. Survivors will really benefit from the longer term consistent therapeutic supports that Supporting Recovery offers, together with practical assistance that the local care team can provide.”

Anglicare’s chief executive of community and mission, the Rev Dr Andrew Ford, says the organisation has worked alongside victim-survivors of domestic and sexual violence across a wide range of communities for many years, and “experience shows us again and again the journey toward healing and recovery can take time”.

“We are committed to delivering culturally appropriate services that have a positive impact on mental wellbeing - which are accessible, inclusive and available at no cost for a period up to two years,” he adds. “These are the long-term supports crucial to supporting victim-survivors in their journey to recovery.”

Statistics show there is a major need for this service, with about 5200 domestic violence-related assault offences reported in the year to June 2023. 

Services will initially be delivered from hubs based in the Campbelltown, Liverpool and Fairfield communities due to higher rates of offences in these areas. However, services may be expanded across Bankstown, and further south into Camden, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee based on need and demand. 

Clients do not need a doctor’s referral. They can access the service by calling 1300 316 554 or going online and completing a self-referral.

For more details about the Supporting Recovery program see

Resources for churches

The new service coincides with Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month, marked across Australia each May. 

“This year has been particularly horrific, [with] reports of the murders of women in regional Victoria and NSW in recent months,” says Archdeacon Kara Hartley, Sydney’s Archdeacon for Women’s Ministry. “National rallies shone a further spotlight on the issue and there are calls for greater government action to prevent violence. 

“As a national church we have had our own reckoning with this issue in the last few years, and there is continuing work on our diocesan domestic abuse monitoring committee  - as well as our national church family and culture commission, which is specifically seeking to resource and educate churches about domestic abuse with a focus on prevention.”

Archdeacon Hartley urges church workers and congregations to use the diocesan policy and guidelines, the training course for church workers, and resources for online at the Safe Ministry site. 

If you are currently experiencing domestic violence and need crisis support, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000.

Feature photo: L to R Lathalia Song, Survivor Advocate; Kathy Donnelly, Survivor Advocate; Fadia Mansoor, Case Manager Anglicare Sydney; Lynda Dunstan, Family and Domestic Violence Advisor, Anglicare Sydney (panel facilitator); and Danielle Lass, Children’s Clinical Lead CatholicCare Sydney