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Carrie's Place @ The Coalface

Imagine being a victim of domestic violence, facing fleeing your home and risking homelessness and your and your children’s safety. For 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 8 men, that is the reality. But there is an organisation helping those people and they are the recipient of this month’s @ The Coalface and Complete Parts $500 Community Gift.

Carrie’s Place is a not-for-profit organisation that has been operating in the Hunter Valley since 1979. It was started by a group of local women who saw other women fleeing their homes in the night in the late 70s. They set up a house and started taking those women in.

It was run by volunteers who would keep those women safe.

“Unfortunately, over the years Carrie’s Place has had to grow,” said CEO Jayne Clowes.

Carrie’s Place has three main programs that are government funded including their Hunter Valley Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (HVWDVCAS), the Staying Home Leaving Violence Program and Specialist Homelessness Services.

The HVWDVCAS provides support for women when they’re going through the court process for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).

“This program is also a central point of contact with NSW Police when they’re called out to any domestic violence situation, we get a referral from them which our team follow up with the women.

Carrie's Place @ The Coalface

“The Staying Home Leaving Violence Program has just been rolled out statewide following the NSW Government increase in domestic violence support, however Carrie’s Place has been running it since 2010. The program involves us working with police to move the perpetrator out so the woman and the child can stay in their home,” said Jayne.

Carrie’s Place Specialist Homelessness Services provide a roof over the head for many vulnerable people fleeing domestic violence.

“There’s a myth out there that we are a women’s only organisation. But we’re not, we provide services to men who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“We’re contracted to support 424 clients per year through our homelessness services. In 2022/23 we supported 707 clients and this year we have already supported 451 clients.

“For our Staying Home Leaving Violence Program, we are contracted to support 180 women across Maitland, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton, Muswellbrook and the Upper Hunter. In 2022/23 we supported 324 women.

“We have also provided brokerage to 110 clients in the last financial year at a cost of nearly $49,000. Those are emergency payments if a woman flees a domestic violence situation and she needs petrol money, food, an Opal Card, the essentials.

“For our WDVCAS services we had 14,713 total referrals last year, which is horrendous.”

The latest statistics from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) show domestic violence related assault was up 38.2% in Cessnock between January 2022 and December 2023, was up nearly 50% in Muswellbrook and up 15.9% in Port Stephens.

The statistics are heartbreaking with increases in just about every region in NSW. BOCSAR found that over a five-year period from 2019 to the end of 2023, sexual assault increased by 47% in regional NSW and domestic violence related assault was up 24% which was an additional 3,284 recorded incidents.

49 women lost their lives in gendered violence in 2023 and already this year 25 women have been killed.

“This isn’t something we can solve overnight; it’s going to take another generation.”

Carrie's Place @ The Coalface

May was Domestic Violence Prevention Month with events held across the country. Carrie’s Place launched their “it takes a team” initiative, partnering with local sporting organisations.

“We’re working with local sporting groups teaching them about what we do, and what are healthy and unhealthy relationships. We used to go into Year 10 in high schools and do a program called ‘Love Bites’ but now we know that in most cases Year 10 is too late.

“It’s about changing the norms, the habits, the values, and respectful relationships and talking to kids as early as we can.

“We have a fantastic team, the commitment that my staff have towards keeping women safe is honestly amazing.”

Jayne said they are humbled and grateful for the support they receive from the community including big companies like The Bloomfield Group who make a sizeable donation each year and recently filled their pantry.

“To have a roof over your head is a basic human right, but for me, it’s about living a SAFE and secure life which is an absolute basic human right.”

Carrie’s Place is also encouraging everyone to sign the Pledge to End Domestic and Family Violence which is on

Homelessness Line: Link2Home (1800 152 152)
Domestic Violence Line: 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)
If your life is at risk, call Triple 000
To support Carrie’s Place and to find more info head to:

Image caption: Carrie’s Place employees Kate, Engagement and Communications Officer Rebekah Sadlier, CEO Jayne Clowes and employee Kate.

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