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More alarms needed

Saturday, 4th July, 2015

Broken Hill Staying Home Leaving Violence’s Claire Bevan and Libby Matthias want more SOS devices for women at risk. PICTURE: Emily Roberts Broken Hill Staying Home Leaving Violence’s Claire Bevan and Libby Matthias want more SOS devices for women at risk. PICTURE: Emily Roberts

A local service that helps women escape domestic violence needs more SOS devices to alert police to a threat.

The Broken Hill Staying Home Leaving Violence service has two alarm devices that can be used by women.

“They are given to women who have Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) out,” said University of Sydney social work student, Claire Bevan.

“They can use them for essential reasons like if they are in a threatening situation or at threat.”

The device is activated when the SOS button is held down. It sends a signal to a call centre in Sydney, which then asks if police are required.

“If there is no response, it is an automatic ‘yes’ to alert local police,” she said.

“The SOS device gives (police) a GPS location.”

But the service would like more devices, said advocate Libby Matthias.

“Considering the city has double the state’s average of domestic violence cases it would be good to have one for every woman in need,” she said.

“This way if women are going to court, making a statement or placing an AVO, they can notify police of any serious threats.”

Ms Matthias said the devices cost $800 each, plus more to run the 24-hour call centre.

“They are very effective. They are getting women to feel safe in public,” she said.

“They can visit their neighbours, go to the shops or work and know there is always something in place.”

Ms Bevan meets with the police every Wednesday to discuss the SOS service.

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