Zali Steggall MP writes to the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault re Dalwood

12 June 2024

Dear Minister Harrison,

I write to you today to seek your assistance in securing urgent funding needed to ensure the continuity of early childhood intervention centre, the Dalwood Spilstead Centre. Through its integrated healthcare model and early childhood intervention approach, Dalwood provides one of the most successful family and domestic violence prevention programs in the state. Notwithstanding this success, Dalwood is facing a funding shortfall of $1 million.

Despite its immense value, the continuity of the Centre and its transformative services is uncertain due to this funding shortfall. Up until recently, Dalwood has received 35% of its funding from the Department of Communities and Justice, 30% from the Northern Sydney Local Health District and the remaining 35% of funding from philanthropic contributions. Due to the termination of a partnership arrangement between the Benevolent Society and NSW Health, the Centre now faces it current funding shortfall. This has crippled the program, blocking two-thirds of currents families from accessing the services, as well as all future referrals. Up to 100 children a year are now unable to access one of the state’s most successful family and domestic violence intervention centres. Ensuring the continuity of early intervention services is critical to breaking generational cycles of violence and combating the alarming rates of domestic and family violence in Australia.

As highlighted in the Sydney Morning Herald article on 10 May 2024, Dalwood has significantly higher engagement and completion rates than the state average for Family Preservation Programs. NSW government data from 2019-2020 found that providers of the Brighter Futures program had, on average, 63% engagement with the program, with 33% of goals achieved for those referred. In comparison to this state average, Dalwood achieved a 96% engagement with the program, with 83% of goals achieved for those referred. Their integrated and evidence-based model of care has yielded significant and long-term benefits for the community, proving Dalwood a highly successful and cost-effective model in combating domestic violence and protecting the wellbeing of at-risk children.

In light of these circumstances, it is imperative that the NSW Government seek assistance from the federal government to ensure the continued operation of Dalwood Spilstead Service.

I also wish to meet with you to further discuss this issue as soon as possible.


Yours sincerely

Zali Steggall OAM, MP
Federal Member for Warringah