Community leaders in the West Kimberley have slammed the State Government over mismanagement that they say has caused a town, grappling with high rates of domestic violence, to go without a crucial prevention and support program.
Domestic violence is one of the key issues for the town of Derby, 200 kilometres east of Broome in Western Australia.
But at the end of August, the only community-based men's behavioural change program, funded by the Department of Communities and delivered by Anglicare, ended with the Government seeking an Aboriginal community group to run the program instead.
A new service provider is yet to be selected and may still take months to get off the ground.
The shift to an Aboriginal-led service provider has been welcomed, but civic leaders say the lack of planning and mismanagement from the Government's end is culminating in real-life consequences.
Robert Watson, the chairperson of Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation, said the State Government had failed the community through its poor planning.
"How do you muster the words to describe a child, mixed up in a domestic violence episode?" he said.
"To think of what the women would feel, right at the heat of the moment when the domestic violence episode is happening — it's indescribable.
"I'd feel safe in saying the impact [of domestic violence] has increased and the result of that is because of the people making these decisions that create these voids in services being provided.
"My issue is that there's never been proper planning behind it and people sit behind the desk and make these decisions, but the implications on the ground … they have no idea."
You can read more about what's happening in the Kimberley by clicking here.