Bella’s Sanctuary wins Safer Suburbs Award

Bella’s Sanctuary, the Gold Coast’s first purpose-built bridging accommodation for domestic and family violence survivors, has been recognised in the Gold Coast City Council’s Safest Suburbs Awards with Halcyon winning the business category.

The biennial awards recognise outstanding safety initiatives happening on the Gold Coast and the businesses and individuals who are working to make our city safer.

The $1.67 million safe haven, which opened in September 2019 is based at an unpublicised address and provides support for women and children leaving domestic and family violence situations.

The facility is the result of a collaboration between the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Spearheaded by Queensland developer Halcyonwho collaborated with DVConnect and listed property group Mirvac – who designed, built, funded and then donated the purpose-built home.

DVConnect Chief Executive Officer Rebecca O’Connor said since Bella’s Sanctuary opened in September, the purpose-built accommodation is already making a significant difference for survivors.

“Bella’s Sanctuary has enabled the women and children who live within in it time to reset in a safe and supportive environment.

What makes this accommodation residence different, and a first of its kind in Australia, is the fact that women and children can stay for up to 12 months, get back on their feet, find employment, let kids settle into school and re-build their lives, while receiving counselling for the trauma they have experienced.” Ms O’Connor said.

The bridging accommodation comprises of two one-bedroom, including one designed for the disabled, two two-bedroom and one three-bedroom units each with their own kitchenette, living area and courtyard. It also has a communal kitchen and living room, a play area and a DVConnect support office.

Halcyon project director Marie Cone said Bella’s Sanctuary is an example of how the development and building industry can make a difference and play an important role in making our community safer.

“We encourage local businesses to get behind critical, not-for-profit infrastructure benefitting the most at-risk people living in our communities, and helping facilitate a conversation around domestic violence,” Mrs Cone said.

“At Halcyon, we believe creating safer communities is everyone’s responsibility and we’re very humbled to be recognised in the Gold Coast City Council’s Safer Suburbs Awards.”

On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. 1 in 6 Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner. 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.


DVConnect helps Queenslanders find pathways to safety away from domestic and family violence. DVConnect operates three crisis helplines; Womensline, Mensline and the Sexual Assault Helpline. DVConnect is Queensland’s only free telephone service specialising in domestic, family and sexual violence offering crisis counsellors who can provide safety planning, information, interventions, referrals and emergency transport and accommodation. DVConnect operates Bella’s Sanctuary, a medium-term accommodation residence for women and children after leaving refuge/shelter. DVConnect also offers Workplace Domestic Violence Training to Queensland organisations. 

The DVConnect helplines are:

  • Womensline 1800 811 811, available 24/7
  • Mensline 1800 600 636 available from 9am – midnight, 7 days
  • Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 010 120, available from 7.30am – 11.30pm, 7 days.
  • For more visit www.DVConnect.org.


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Thank you DVConnect for saving my Mums life, and mine. You guys getting us out of there changed everything. Thank you so much. Life is good now! 

Our survivor has chosen to remain anonymous.

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How your donation will help

  • Provides operational support to fund our bridging accommodation residence Bella's Sanctuary.
  • Provides emergency transport and accommodation for Queenslanders in crisis due to domestic and family violence.
  • Provides safety planning, crisis counselling and information to those impacted by domestic and family violence.
  • Educates Queenslanders on how to help family, friends and colleagues who have experienced, or are experiencing domestic and family violence.