Carrie’s Place stung by Maitland City Council snub

FRUSTRATED: Carrie's Place CEO Jan McDonald sits on the newly unveiled reflection bench for victims of domestic violence in Lorn. Picture: Perry Duffin
FRUSTRATED: Carrie's Place CEO Jan McDonald sits on the newly unveiled reflection bench for victims of domestic violence in Lorn. Picture: Perry Duffin

Anti domestic violence service Carrie’s Place has accused Maitland City Council of disrespect.

Carrie’s Place CEO Jan McDonald said the relationship between council and the prominent women’s and children’s refuge had deteriorated in recent years.

She criticised council on Thursday after Carrie’s Place was left off the invitation list for the opening of a monument to the city’s domestic violence victims on the riverbank at Lorn.

Ms McDonald said she caught wind of the event second-hand.

A Maitland City spokesperson said council had invited the Domestic Violence Liaison Committee.

When asked why Carrie’s Place had not been specifically invited, the spokesperson said in a written statement that inviting the committee “was the most appropriate avenue”.

The spokesperson said Ms McDonald was a member of the DVLC. But Fairfax Media understands Carrie’s Place is a member, rather than Ms McDonald personally. 

“It's not the appropriate way to invite the local specialist service,” Ms McDonald.

She said council’s failure to extend an invite to Carrie’s Place, the region’s key anti-domestic violence service, was not a one-off incident.

"It's been going for several years, it started about three or four Christmases ago when the majority of councilors decided to stop collecting toys to donate to Carrie's Place," she said.

"Both overtly and covertly we're spoken to as if domestic violence is a hobby of Carrie's Place. There's just outright refusal to accept this is a whole community issue. 

"They're either completely and utterly burying their heads in the sand, or it's patriarchy and misogyny, or it's a bloody dislike for Carrie's Place."

The latest crime statistics, released on Tuesday, showed the rate of convictions for domestic violence assaults in the Maitland local government area had jumped about 20 per cent in the year to September. 

It came after the rate increased by 23 per cent in the 12 months to June.

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