LINKER is a domestic violence service in Central Western NSW that is changing the lives of women and children.
The rate of domestic violence in Far West and Orana is more than five* times higher than the overall rate for NSW. In regional, rural and remote communities, domestic and family violence is one of the leading causes for women and children becoming homeless and seeking emergency accommodation.
Barnardos recognise that there is a high need for support, yet unlike urban areas, only a small number of providers operate in often isolated locations and most services are only able to provide active support during business hours.
LINKER is a unique and innovative service which addresses the after-hours support gap in Western NSW.
It proactively offers telephone and text message support to women who have accessed emergency short-term accommodation as the result of leaving domestic violence.
LINKER offers flexible out of hours phone contact (5pm-9am every day of the week) from a specialist domestic violence worker to clients referred by emergency accommodation providers.
The LINKER worker proactively contacts the client by phone and offer personalised and consistent support as required during their time of crisis and transition through homelessness to post-crisis stability, at times of the day and week when there are few if any other forms of support available.
Clients particularly value the LINKER Service capacity for phone-based support from another town, allowing for a more anonymous relationship, thus respecting confidentiality concerns, which can be challenging in small communities.
Linker - A Journey to Safety Report.
On Monday 9th September 2019 the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health released their findings on how LINKER supports victims, provides insight into the successes of LINKER and how we can improve this program to assist more women and children in crisis.
According to the study:
- 90% of clients strongly agreed that the LINKER Service reduced their anxiety and increased their feelings of support.
- 80% of clients felt less isolated
- 97% agreed that LINKER assisted with respect to immediate outcomes.
Download full report here
A documentary has also been created by Barnardos featuring LINKER support workers and the remarkable women they have helped to rebuild their lives. Watch below.
*According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, the rate of domestic violence incidents eliciting critical bodily harm, at a rate of 139.6 per 100,000, is highest in the Far West and Orana region of NSW. This is more than five times higher than the overall rate for NSW at 25.6 per 100,000 (Freeman, 2018).
If you would like to support much needed programs and services like LINKER,
you can donate here.
LINKER was collaboratively developed in 2016 in response to an extensive consultation process into the needs of women and children in the Western NSW region. LINKER is funded as part of the NSW government Domestic Violence Response Enhancement (DVRE, announced October 2014). The consortium of Specialist Homelessness Services (Barnardos Australia, Mission Australia, Orana Support Services, Centacare Wilcannia Forbes, Orange Local Aboriginal Lands Council, and Housing Plus) have provided governance support and ensure district coverage, with Barnardos Australia acting as Lead Agency. The LINKER Service has been successfully implemented in a wide range of communities throughout Western NSW.