There are plans to build the first specialist counselling centre for Indigenous perpetrators of domestic violence in Western Australia's Pilbara region.
The proposed 28-bed facility would offer accommodation for perpetrators as well as an outreach program focused on prevention and early intervention.
The Aboriginal Males Healing Centre, which has devised the plan, incorporates principles of the Duluth model - an intervention strategy that places accountability for the abuse on the perpetrator and increases coordination between the community and criminal and civil justice agencies.
The preferred site for the building is 10 kilometres south of Newman along the Great Northern Highway.
Newman Women's Refuge manager Maggie Lewis said the area was in desperate need of the facility.
"It's a necessary thing ... prison is clearly not working," she said.
"Sixty per cent of domestic violence perpetrators in the East Pilbara re-offend within the first six months of being released.
"There needs to be more accountability and education of domestic violence for these people."
While perpetrators can volunteer to attend the centre, priority will be given to those who are referred by either a magistrate or the Department of Corrective Services.
Centre 'light at the end of the tunnel'
Senior Sergeant Dean Snashall from South Hedland Police Station said domestic assaults in the area had increased by 320 per cent in July and August this year, which was having a devastating effect on the community.
"If you look at what the flow-on effect that domestic violence has on the children of the house, it is so far reaching it's not funny," he said.
"Unfortunately the families that we deal with aren't one-off's, they're recidivist families."
He said support structures for people exiting the justice system were severely lacking.
"It's well overdue... there's a clear gap in services for men who are involved in domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse.
"A facility like this is the light at the end of the tunnel."
Healing Centre chief executive Devon Cuimara said it was important the service was Pilbara-based.
"An Aboriginal male that perpetrates family domestic violence... he has to travel 1,200 kilometres down to Perth [to receive counselling]," he said.
"That takes him away from country, puts him in a position of fear, because he's in a strange place, strange people, and will not get the full benefit of the program that's offered to him once down there."
Mr Cuimara said they were currently negotiating with both the state and federal governments in order to secure funding for the project.
First posted 14 Sep 2016, 12:46pm