Halcyon helps domestic violence survivors build a new life
Halcyon, together with Mirvac and DVConnect will deliver a new, purpose-built domestic violence shelter for women and their children on the Gold Coast next year.
The shelter will be owned by DVConnect, Queensland’s only state-wide telephone service offering a free crisis helpline for anyone affected by domestic or family violence.
Halcyon Joint managing director Dr Bevan Geissmann said the project is something that is close to the hearts of everyone here at Halcyon.
“For me, having worked as a general practitioner for many years, I regularly saw people affected by domestic violence,” Bevan said.
“And as a lawyer practising in the Beenleigh area, my fellow Halcyon joint managing director Paul Melville witnessed the legal consequences of this growing community problem.
“We both know only too well that the tragic fallout of this problem doesn’t only affect the individual concerned, it impacts the lives of the children, wider family networks and their communities.”
Halcyon project director Marie Cone has become a driving force of the project in response to the significant rise in the reporting and severity of domestic violence in Queensland.
Marie experienced first-hand the urgency of the domestic violence housing situation when she visited DVConnect’s call centre. Here she saw the volume of calls taken each day and the desperate need for emergency housing.
Each month, DVConnect receives more than 4,000 calls from people seeking refuge, and is forced to place many of these women and children in motels because of the shortage of refuge places.
“The ripple effect of domestic violence is poorly understood,” Marie said. “It has a toxic effect on people’s lives, damaging them, their relationships, and paralysing their ability to function normally.
“I realised that this shortage of housing was an aspect of the domestic violence problem where a leading developer like Halcyon could provide tangible support.
“So, together with our shareholders, we committed Halcyon to addressing the region’s severe shortage of crisis accommodation by delivering a new shelter.”
Halcyon then invited national developer Mirvac to come on board to make this new shelter a reality for DVConnect.
Bevan said Mirvac was eager to help, viewing the project as a practical and vital step toward addressing some of the challenges surrounding domestic violence.
“They generously donated a block of land for the shelter, which, I’m delighted to say, is now under construction,” he said.
“Close to 60 per cent of the project’s building costs have been donated by Halcyon’s generous subcontractors and suppliers, who gladly provided materials and labour essential for the project.”
On completion in 2019, the house will be the first new domestic violence shelter for the Gold Coast region in more than a decade. This gift will make a big difference to the south east corner of Queensland where demand has been high.
Capable of housing four families at a time, the home will comprise four, one and two-bedroom units, each with their own kitchenette, living area and courtyard. There will also be a communal kitchen, living room, play area, and space for onsite management.
Importantly, the shelter will be indistinguishable from other homes in the neighbourhood, allowing its residents to start a new phase of their lives in privacy and with a sense of normalcy.
Bevan said Halcyon is overwhelmed by the strong level of support and enthusiasm the project is attracting.
“Everyone we’ve approached has been only too happy to help,” he said.
“It resonates with Marie’s observation that, ‘Sometimes the community doesn’t know what to do, but if you provide a vehicle to help, it is amazing how many people want to come on board’.”
“Halcyon is proud to have created a vehicle for the enormous generosity and goodwill that exists in our community towards addressing this serious issue.
“We regard safe accommodation as crucial to breaking the cycle of domestic violence by allowing affected families to start afresh in security and peace.
“And while the motto for our communities is, Life begins at Halcyon, we also support others seeking to start a new and better chapter of their lives across South East Queensland.”
If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence, DVConnect can help you find a pathway to safety, away from violence. 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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