As Australia’s first purpose-built bridging facility with four separate units housing women and children who have been victims of domestic violence, it represented a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the private and not-for-profit sectors in Queensland.
The idea came from Halcyon’s Project Director Marie Cone who, like many others, had been horrified at the statistics and wanted to try and help make a difference.
“Domestic violence is an issue which doesn’t discriminate across socio-economic, educational, religious or racial grounds,” Mrs Cone said.
She said the statistics show on average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner while one in six Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner.
“Bella’s Sanctuary has been able to help a number of families by acting as a safe haven where they can rest, recover and get themselves back on their feet in a supportive environment,” she said.
Mrs Cone said Bella’s Sanctuary, which celebrates its first birthday this month (August), is an example of how the development and building industry can make a difference and play an important role in making our community safer.
“At Halcyon, we believe creating safer communities is everyone’s responsibility and 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.
The creation of Bella’s Sanctuary has been due to the generous support of Mirvac, who donated the land, and more than 90 sub-contractors and suppliers, who donated almost 60 per cent of the building costs.
Over the past two years, Halcyon’s homeowners banded together to raise a staggering $50,000 for the project. This money was used to fit-out the facility with household appliances and furniture so that women and their children feel right at home.
They have also organised collection drives across Halcyon’s seven communities to donate furniture, linen, homewares, clothes and toys to families staying in the bridging facility, which is located at an undisclosed address on the Gold Coast.
Halcyon’s Joint Managing Director Dr Bevan Geissmann said it represented the spirit of Halcyon, uniting company values with those of our homeowners.
“We regard safe accommodation as crucial to breaking the cycle of domestic violence by allowing affected families to start afresh in security and peace,” Dr Geissmann said.
“We’re honoured to be able to contribute to this very serious issue and our homeowners are united with us in terms of being able to give back.”