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Doors begin to open on safe places across the NT.



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Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Media Release

Doors begin to open on safe places across the NT

30/01/2009

Joint Media Release with Malarndirri McCarthy, NT Minister for Children and Families - Minister for Child Protection

The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments today opened a women's safe house and a men's cooling off place in the remote community of Ngukurr, as part of a roll-out of 22 safe places across the Northern Territory as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response.

Ngukurr is one of 15 remote communities in the NT to receive safe places under a joint initiative between the Australian and Northern Territory Governments to improve the safety and protection of Indigenous children and their families.

Safe places are important circuit breakers in the cycle of violence. They are a safe haven when violence threatens - short-term crisis accommodation for families and children.

The safe places will offer a range of counselling, legal and support services as well as parenting and men's healing programs.

Local people will be employed to work in the safe places - building the local workforce and helping spread the word that there is an escape from violence.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said keeping women and children safe is everyone's responsibility.

"The Australian Government is determined to show national leadership to stop the abuse and neglect of women and children," Ms Macklin said.

"To be safe and protected is the most basic of human rights."

Indigenous women are 35 times more likely than other Australian women to be hospitalised and eight out of ten of them are assaulted by a partner.

Since 2007 the Australian and Northern Territory Governments have invested more than $22 million in the Family Support Package for Indigenous families - including safe places, a mobile child protection team and remote Aboriginal family and community workers.

The NT Minister for Children and Families and Child Protection, Malarndirri McCarthy said all safe places would be operational over the coming months. They are:

z women's safe houses in Ngukurr, Angurugu, Hermannsburg, Kalkarindji, Lajamanu, Maningrida,

Nguiu, Peppimenarti, Ramingining, Ti-Tree, Yarralin Darwin and Alice Springs, and z men's cooling off places in Ngukurr, Angurugu, Apatula, Beswick, Maningrida, Nguiu, Pmara-Jutunta, Ramingining and Yuendumu.

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"Protecting children and women is essential if we are going to make in-roads into closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians," Ms McCarthy said.

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3/02/2009