Karuah raises vital funds for Got Your Back Sista charity

Olivia and Elaine helped bring Got Your Back Sista to the Charity Day at Karuah RSL.

LOCALS gave big at the Karuah RSL’s Charity Day on Saturday 18 May, this year in partnership with ‘Got Your Back Sista’, a group dedicated to helping women escape and survive domestic violence (DV).

“Got Your Back Sista helps so many people, they collect food and personal items, all to help DV sufferers,” Elaine Wilson, a Director at Karuah RSL and one of the organisers of the day, told NOTA.

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“These ladies often leave with nothing, and are taken to a safe home, usually with their children, to escape an abusive situation.”

Mel Histon, who has run Got Your Back Sista for the past nine years, explained how the charity, which does not receive any government funding, has evolved to run an ‘end-to-end’ service for women in need.

“Karuah has been a big supporter, including big donations during COVID in early 2020,” Ms Histon said.

“Got Your Back Sista helps DV victims from Newcastle and the Hunter all the way up to Taree; women reach out to us, needing support.

“We asked: ‘What does a woman need to get out of DV and start a new life?’ – she may have experienced violence her whole life, and not know that it is not normal nor healthy, not be aware of it happening to her.”

The growing crisis of domestic violence was highlighted by the two State Government ministers present, local member Kate Washington MP, who is also Minister for Families and Communities, and Member for Charlestown Ms Jodie Harrison, currently Minister for Women, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

“It is really good to see the conversation here at Karuah about the national crisis on our hands,” Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said.

“One woman every four days loses her life to an intimate partner across our nation, and domestic violence impacts every single community across the state,” Ms Washington declared.

Both MPs spoke about the recent NSW State Labor Government announcement of a $230 million (over four years) emergency package to support victims, from early intervention through to crises in the system, also introducing justice reforms (still to be debated), and helping to identify the behaviours of abused women.

“For the first time, an early intervention plan is funded in the package, and a focus on getting women specialist support, because the wrong kind can be more damaging,” Ms Harrison announced.

“$38 million of the $230 million package will be for prevention, as it has not been a focus in NSW, and there will be strengthening of bail laws, use of electronic bracelets if offenders are released.”

Funds were raised through a large assortment of traditional charity events, from raffles to tombolas and 100s clubs, with light music provided by Tarro’s Chris Wilcox, all in support of women getting the help they need.

If you or someone you know needs help with domestic violence, these phone numbers may help:

– 1800-RESPECT – to know more information

– 1800-656-463 is the NSW Domestic Violence line, a direct contact with people who can help

– 000 for immediate danger

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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