On average 12,500 women look to the Townsville Women’s Centre for help every year.
Shamefully, Townsville has been identified as the rape and sexual assault capital in Queensland and the Townsville Women’s Centre is the only free specialist service available for rape and sexual assault victims in Townsville.
In 2013, three Townsville barristers Skye Jerome, Kerri Fredericks and Megan Heywood learnt of the Townsville Women’s Centre’s plight and created a powerful and energetic charity, The Sky Foundation. The purely Townsville brand has resonated strongly within the local business community and individuals alike.
Over the last 32 years, the Townsville Women’s Centre has assisted on over 360,000 occasions. The centre offers specialist care to women and children escaping domestic violence, sexual assault and homelessness. On average, 12, 500 women will walk through the door for help every year with 35 new referrals each week.
“These are shocking statistics but this number has been steadily increasing which we believe is due to the rising strength amongst the Townsville community to no longer accept family violence in their homes,” said founding member, Kerri Fredericks. “On International Women’s Day, we launched the ‘Turn It Round Townsville’ campaign in support of the Townsville Women’s Centre.”
The Townsville Women’s Centre has recently teamed up with Queensland Police and the Qld Health which overs a 24/7 holistic service to sexual assault victims. On average, the new group are responding to a sexual assault victim once every two days.
Due to the low level of government funding and the inability to fundraise themselves, the centre currently operates from an old dilapidated house with only 11 staff. The current premises is no longer capable of sustaining the growing demand for vital services it delivers.
Current facilities are inadequate to maintain existing programs and increase delivery of support services. Currently, counsellors are forced to share office space, the rooms are damp, the roof leaks, the downstairs ceiling has exposed wires and the downstairs waiting area is not enclosed. It is generally a very depressing and over worked building.
Due to the current building situation, the Sky Foundation’s main fundraising focus is to finance a purpose built building for the Townsville Women’s Centre.
“We are very proud that every dollar donated to the foundation has been invested into helping North Queensland women and children. Thanks to community support since 2013 we have raised over $500,000 for the Townsville Women’s Centre Building Project, but we need more.”
The Sky Foundation is asking Townsville to dig deep and donate of $100 or less to the project. The Foundation is also calling on individuals and local businesses to host their own fundraising event.
“We are delighted to have the support of organisations such as McDonough Piper Promotions who have announced fundraising events surrounding the Spartan Race in June and The Coffee Club will fundraise for the Foundation at their Ladies Day Race at the Townsville Turf Club for the fourth consecutive year.
Since launching the campaign in March, the Foundation has already raised some $10,000.