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Registered NDIS Provider

29 May 2024

Hope to create Safer Homes for Safer Communities

Many Hume employees often go above and beyond the call of duty to help their local community, and Jenna Nadiotis and Richard Hershman are no exception.

Jenna is currently President of Maitland Against Domestic Violence (MADA), Richard is the Member Liaison. MADA is made up of a group of passionate volunteers raising awareness about domestic violence and sexual abuse services across Maitland, Hunter Valley in NSW.  Their motto is ‘Safer Homes for Safer Communities’.

MADA’s mandate is to raise awareness of DV, funding local community DV initiatives, as well as providing contact details and links to local domestic violence and crisis support services. MADA has contributed to funding the local Hunter Men’s Project to create resources for men who use violence, they have contributed to funding and running DV training for frontline services in November 2023 and will continue to work with the frontline DV services to plan further events to support local needs.

“It is well documented we have a crisis on our hands.  The Counting Dead Women in Australia project, run by researchers at Destroy the Joint, noted that this year up until April, 28 women have been murdered in Australia by partners this year. Official figures showing that 2 in 5 women (39%) and 1 in 8 men have experienced violence since the age of 15,” Jenna Nadiotis said.

“For women living with a disability, the rates are even worse, with 46% of women over 15 with cognitive disability and 50% with psychological disability experiencing sexual violence. Also, transgender and gender diverse people experience very high rates of family, domestic and sexual violence, “she said.

“So, look around you, that’s 25% of your female colleagues. It’s not people over there, it’s our community and our kids are impacted by it or will be impacted by it”.

Last weekend MADA held their first community awareness event attracting over 250 attendees in Maitland – Move for MADA, featuring guest speaker and well-known author, Jane Caro AM, as well as Carrie’s Place CEO Jayne Clowes and Ben Whiting, Maitland Counsellor.

“We held a fun walk, run and pram roll, and importantly hosted speeches addressing the serious issues. Those attending had opportunities to speak to professionals that were there, as well as enjoy food and other stalls.  We were very pleased with how it all went,” Jenna Nadiotis said.

Hume was one of the event sponsors, providing a marquee and supporting with promotion to customers to attend. Hume CEO, Brad Braithwaite, said the vital work of MADA creates a bedrock for the community.

“Supporting MADA is important for Hume and other organisations as we can always learn more about the needs of the community and help raise awareness of supports for domestic and family violence, which is often hidden and taboo,” he said.

“Hume works tirelessly in the region to address homelessness, housing and domestic violence challenges and we know progress is happening.  We recently announced a partnership with the Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Service to deliver a new refuge in Port Stephens thanks to a significant NSW State Government investment in housing and critical support services for domestic and family violence,” said Brad Braithwaite.

MADA’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness of what to do if you are in an abusive situation is vital because many victims do not speak out and some do not even realise, they are in an abusive relationship. Abuse can be financial, verbal, or psychological abuse, it is not only physical.  In addition, members of the community often do not know how to help people going through domestic violence.

“How many people outside crisis domestic violence services are confident in talking to someone experiencing domestic violence? How many bosses are confident in supporting a staff member?” Jenna Nadiotis questioned.

“For example, Tanya Plibersek’s daughter didn’t know she was in a domestic violence relationship as a teenager, as she explained in the recent Australian Story Episode on the ABC and we still hear countless stories of people not knowing where to get help if they are in an abusive relationship,” said Jenna Nadiotis.

The good news is that more funding is being announced, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison, recently released her budget in response to the domestic violence crisis. One of the initiatives is $8.1m towards early intervention within early childhood centres which should benefit another Move for MADA sponsor’s industry, Tilly’s Play, and Development Centre, which has 14 such centres across the Hunter, servicing hundreds of families.

“Ultimately we need more housing for women, children and youth who are homeless because of domestic and family violence as well as more supported housing for men, as there is none outside of Newcastle in the Hunter, and MADA committee members are advocating at all levels for this, such as Hume Community Housing,” Jenna Nadiotis said.

“We need more funding for domestic violence crisis response services and MADA committee members such as Carrie’s Place and the Hunter Domestic Violence Consortium are advocating for this.”

The MADA Committee remains focused on influencing the local culture, increasing the local access to knowledge of expert resources with the key goal of creating ‘Safer Homes for Safer Communities’.

Image: Left to right: Move for MADA guests Ben Whiting, Maitland Counsellor, Jayne Clowes, CEO Carrie’s Place, Jane Caro AM, and Jenna Nadiotis, MADA President.

For more information about MADA visit their website