Housing Plus will hold a forum to consult on plans for a women's shelter in Orange.

FIRST STEP: Housing Plus community programs manager Penny Dordoy said a safe place was the first step to escape domestic violence. Photo: DECLAN RURENGA

FIRST STEP: Housing Plus community programs manager Penny Dordoy said a safe place was the first step to escape domestic violence. Photo: DECLAN RURENGA

Taking the first step to escape from domestic violence will move a step closer on Tuesday.

Housing Plus will host a forum at the Orange Ex-Services Club from 6pm on their proposal to build women’s domestic violence shelter.

In Orange, there’s 465 women who are at serious risk of harm or death from their partners. Sydney’s Women’s Community Shelters has joined with Housing Plus to make a regional shelter in Orange a possibility.

Housing Plus community and client programs regional manager Penny Dordoy said the forum on Tuesday was about informing the community and inviting them to help.

“This is about speaking to the community, letting them know what we’re planning and getting their thoughts and bringing them along with us in this journey,” Ms Dordoy said.

“We want to keep people safe and the best way to do that is to get everyone involved.

“You don’t need to know anything about domestic violence but you do have to care about the people in the community.

“We have such a high rate of domestic violence in this city, that everyone would know somebody who has experienced or is experiencing domestic violence.”

On average each year, Housing Plus works with 1400 people who have experienced domestic violence. Creating a safe place for women and children is key to addressing part of that problem and Ms Dordoy said escaping it was important, but the first step had to be finding a safe place to escape to.

“It’s the first step, getting to safety with or without children,” she said.

“Once people leave and are safe, we can work with them on the next steps.

“We want to get it across that people have options, break the barrier and fear of the unknown, we will work through that step with them. 

“You’re not alone.”

However, bringing the community together support the creation of a domestic violence shelter was only the first step.

“Once we have the physical space, we will be looking to fill it, and that’s the really important part,” Ms Dordoy said.

“When a family goes into a room and it’s filled with gifts from the community, blankets, toys and toiletries, it makes them feel loved, that the community is holding them.”

To register for the event, contact Housing Plus on 1800 603 300 or visit the website https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/community-consultation-domestic-violence-crisis-accommodation-tickets-27747532617 

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