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Safe house recognised in Gold Coast City Council’s Safest Suburbs Awards

November 01, 2019

Bella’s Sanctuary, the Gold Coast’s first purpose-built bridging accommodation for domestic violence survivors, has been recognised in the Gold Coast City Council’s Safest Suburbs Awards.

The biennial awards recognise outstanding safety initiatives happening on the Gold Coast and the businesses and individuals who are working to make our city safer.

The $1.6 million safe haven - opened in September 2019 - is based at an unpublicised address and provides support for women and children leaving domestic violence situations.

The facility was spearheaded by Queensland developer Halcyon - who collaborated with DVConnect and listed property group Mirvac - who designed, built, funded and then donated the purpose-built home.

DVConnect board of directors chair Shaan Ross-Smith said since Bella’s Sanctuary opened in September, the purpose-built accommodation is already making a significant difference for survivors of domestic violence.   

“As a not-for-profit organisation, we placed 4,000 women and children in Queensland motels last year alone because all shelters were at capacity,” Ms Ross-Smith said.

“Bella’s Sanctuary is already making a significant difference to many women’s and children’s lives who are now able to reset in a safe and supportive environment.

“What makes this accommodation facility different, and a first of its kind in Australia, is the fact that women and children can stay for up to 12 months, get back on their feet, find employment, let kids settle into school and slowly re-build their lives,” Ms Ross-Smith said.

The bridging accommodation comprises of two one-bedroom, including one designed for the disabled, two two-bedroom and one three-bedroom units each with their own kitchenette, living area and courtyard. It also has a communal kitchen and living room, a play area and a DVConnect support office.

Halcyon project director Marie Cone said Bella’s Sanctuary is an example of how the development and building industry can make a difference and play an important role in making our community safer.

“We encourage local businesses to get behind critical, not-for-profit infrastructure benefitting the most at-risk people living in our communities, and helping facilitate a conversation around domestic violence,” Mrs Cone said.

“At Halcyon, we believe creating safer communities is everyone’s responsibility and we’re very humbled to be recognised in the Gold Coast City Council’s Safer Suburbs Awards.”

On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. 1 in 6 Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner. 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.

DVConnect helps Queenslanders escape domestic and family violence by providing emergency transport and accommodation.

It is the only Queensland state-wide telephone service offering a free crisis helpline for anyone affected by domestic or family violence.

If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, call DVConnect’s anytime, 24/7 on 1800 811 811 or visit