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Health News

Ballina Women’s Refuge

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Ballina Women’s Refuge

Ballina Women’s Refuge

A SAFE place for women and children to escape domestic violence in Ballina is under threat.

The Ballina Women’s Refuge provides a safe place for more than 130 women and children escaping domestic and family violence each year and requires ongoing funding to deliver accommodation and vital domestic and family violence support services.

A campaign has been started to raise funds for the refuge as it struggles to survive without sufficient government support.

Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot raised the problem in parliament recently.

“The government must urgently support locals fleeing domestic violence,” she said.

“As a former police officer, I have seen first-hand how vital women’s refuges are in providing crisis accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

“In Parliament today I made sure that the Liberals and Nationals were well aware of the impact of their lack of recurrent funding for places like Momentum Collective’s Ballina Women’s and Children’s Refuge – who are being forced to hold a fundraiser tomorrow just to keep their doors open.

“The New South Wales Government funding is due to cease on June 30 and the fact is, without further funding this service will be forced to close.”

Last year, Momentum Collective took over operation of the refuge.

“The refuge is currently run by local organisation Momentum Collective, who took on its operation last year when the charity running it was unable to get enough donations to stay open,” Ms Elliot said.

“Momentum Collective were specifically asked for the New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice to take it over, and they received a one-off funding grant from the department, which now ceases at the end of this month.

“Momentum Collective stepped up to do their part, the local community, the business community stepped up to.

“Now it’s time for both the federal and state governments to do their part and urgently provide this desperately needed recurrent funding.”

In a bipartisan show of support, NSW MLC Catherine Cusack and MPs Tamara Smith and Janelle Saffin have all pitched in to help launch the Ballina refuge fundraising campaign, as well as local comedian Mandy Nolan.

Ms Nolan, the ambassador for the Ballina refuge campaign, says domestic and family violence is an issue that concerns the whole community.

She has lived experience of domestic and family violence and is passionate about the issue.

“Violence is not a women’s issue; it is a whole of community issue. As someone who grew up in domestic violence, I know what it’s like not to be a child and not have a safe space. As a woman who later lived in domestic violence, I know what it is like to feel the complex stigma,” Ms Nolan says.

“It is particularly difficult for women and children in regional areas to find safe space when they are moving away from violence. We know this is the time they are most at risk. This is why places like the Ballina Women and Children’s Refuge are so important. It provides the support and the protection so that women can start to rebuild their lives.”

Momentum Collective’s service director Sarah Dybing says the campaign launch demonstrated that domestic and family violence was everybody’s business.

“We appreciate the fact that our local MPs have come together here today to support the Ballina women’s and children’s refuge. It is the only safe harbour for women and children escaping family and domestic violence in our local community,” Ms Dybing said.

“Momentum Collective became involved to support the refuge in 2019, and began operating it in 2020, to ensure the doors remained opened. We now want to ensure the refuge can continue to operate with ongoing support services. Like the rest of Australia, Ballina is experiencing a housing crisis with a shortfall of affordable housing. It is vital that women and children in Ballina have a safe and stable place to go when they need to leave a violent and abusive environment.”

The Ballina community rallied last year to help renovate and refurbish the refuge to ensure that women and children seeking support would feel welcome and comfortable in the house, Ms Dybing said.

“Our team has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Ballina community with so many pitching in to help us. A number of small businesses have organised fundraising events and Ballina on Richmond Rotary has been a constant supporter,” she said.

“I would invite all of our local businesses to get on board with fundraising events and everyone in the community to help us by donating to the campaign. Every little bit helps us keep women and children safe and allows us to support families to overcome the trauma and upheaval brought on by domestic and family violence.”

NSW MLC Catherine Cusack said safety was a basic human right for women and children.
“Feeling and being at risk invades their every waking moment. It ruins work and education opportunities. It destroys self-esteem – and so in addition to providing accommodation, refuges provide expert support that can turn lives around.”

Visit the Momentum Collective website for more information on how to donate and fundraise for the Ballina Women’s and Children’s refuge: www.mymomentum.org.au/donate/

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Health News

1 in 10 people will have a seizure. Epilepsy Queensland urges all Australians to Get Seizure Smart!

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Epilepsy Queensland

1 in 10 people will have a seizure. Epilepsy Queensland urges all Australians to Get Seizure Smart!

The Get Seizure Smart campaign asks the questions – would you recognise if someone was having a seizure? Would you know what to do to help?

Chris Dougherty, Epilepsy Queensland Chief Executive says, “seizures are more common than many realise and don’t always look like what you might expect. 1 in 10 people will have a seizure and 50% of people that have one seizure will go on to have more. Being seizure smart is an important skill for everyone.”

Epilepsy Queensland has been supporting Queenslanders to live well with epilepsy for over 50 years and this September their Get Seizure Smart campaign educates the public to recognise seizures and respond with appropriate seizure first aid. Doing so can provide comfort, prevent injury, and even save a life!

“The signs of a seizure are not always easy to spot and can be overlooked or mistaken for something else,” explains Epilepsy Educator, Jenny Ritchie. “Not all seizures are convulsive (shaking- falling). Seizures may include subtle eye movements, changes in cognitive ability, lapses in attention or other unusual behaviours.”

After you recognise a seizure, the next step is to be Seizure Smart and know how to respond with seizure first aid.
TIME the seizure. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, call an ambulance.

If it is the first time the person has experienced a seizure, you should seek medical assistance.
STAY with the person until they are alert or help arrives.
Stay calm and PROTECT the person from injury.
“This could mean moving things like hot drinks or furniture and protecting their head with something small and soft,” instructs Jenny Ritchie, who has been teaching seizure first aid to Queenslanders for almost 15 years.
Visit the Epilepsy Queensland website to Get Seizure Smart, download the free Seizure First Aid and Signs of a Seizure flyers at www.epilepsyqueensland.com.au or https://bit.ly/GetSeizureSmart
Not all seizures require emergency medical attention, but they can be life threatening; almost every day an Australian life is lost due to epilepsy.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Second charge laid for breach of public health orders

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Second charge laid for breach of public health orders

A second man has been charged with breaching public health orders when he left Sydney to come to the Northern Rivers.
As a result, four local government areas, including the Ballina Shire, the Byron Shire, Lismore and Richmond Valley were all thrown into lockdown.
It is understand the second man is the 19-year-old son of the 52-year-old man who has also been charged for breaching public health orders.
The older man is currently in Lismore Base Hospital with Covid.

Officers from Richmond and Tweed/Byron Police Districts commenced an investigation after receiving reports a man and family members had travelled to Northern NSW in late July.

Following further extensive inquiries last week, Tweed/Byron PD officers issued the 19-year-old man with a Court Attendance Notice for four offences, including:
• fail to comply with noticed direction re section 7/8/9 – COVID-19 – individual
• fail to comply with electronic registration directive – individual (two counts), and
• not wear fitted face covering in public transport/taxi

Police will allege the 19-year-old Rose Bay man travelled from Sydney to the Byron Bay area in company of the 52-year-old Rose Bay man.
He is due to appear at Byron Bay Local Court on Monday 27 September 2021.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Surge in testing but no COVID-19 cases so far on North Coast

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Surge in testing but no COVID-19 cases so far on North Coast

By Tim Howard

A surge in COVID-19 tests on the NSW North Coast has not uncovered any new cases of the disease so far say a health authorities.
News a Sydney man had been at large on the North Coast for nearly two weeks sent a surge of Grafton residents into the fever clinic testing clinic set up at the Grafton Base Hospital.
Some people waited for more than an two hours for their test and were told they would have at least another 24 hours to wait before they received a result.
Northern NSW Local Health District acting CEO Lynne Weir said authorities were aware of new venues of concern and would release updated information for close-contact venues in the region.
She said anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed was a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result.

Covid Test Grafton

People lined up for hours to get a COVID-19 test at the fever clinic at Grafton Base Hospital, following the revelation a 52-year-old Sydney man had been infectious on the North Coast for more than a week.

Ms Weir said NSW Health sent a text message to people who have checked in at close contact venues with further information.
“We also make a follow-up call to close contacts to discuss the isolation and testing requirements,” she said.
“If you have not received a text message, please call 1800 943 553.
“If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.
Ms Weir said NSW Health did not disclose details about venues of concern unless there was a public health reason.
When a confirmed COVID-19 case attended a venue while possibly infectious, NSW Health carried out a risk assessment on that venue to determine whether other people might have been exposed, and whether there is a public health risk.
Ms Weir said all people diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate to ensure there was no ongoing risk of infection to others in the community.
Close contacts are asked to get tested, and complete 14 days’ self-isolation, even if their initial test result is negative.
“It remains vital that anyone who has any symptoms or is a close or casual contact of a person with COVID-19, isolates and is tested immediately,” she said.
“When testing clinics are busy, please ensure you stay in line, identify yourself to staff and tell them that you have symptoms or are a contact of a case.”
Ms Weir thanked the many people in the community who came forward for testing in the past few days.
On Tuesday, August 10, more than 3000 tests were conducted at NSW Health and drive through clinics across the district, with many more conducted at other GP and respiratory clinics in the region.
She said there had been high sustained high testing rates in recent weeks, with 9,177 tests conducted among NNSWLHD residents in the first week of August.
All the local testing clinics and their opening hours are listed on the NSW government website at: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and- others/clinics or, you can also contact your GP.
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed is a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result. NSW Health sends a text message to people who have checked in at close contact venues with further information. We also make a follow-up call to close contacts to discuss the isolation and testing requirements. If you have not received a text message, please call 1800 943 553.

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