Attack fires sober-up call

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton sisters Jill Murray and Coral Cross are petitioning Mental Health minister Roger Cook to reopen Geraldtons' sobering up shelter
Camera IconGeraldton sisters Jill Murray and Coral Cross are petitioning Mental Health minister Roger Cook to reopen Geraldtons' sobering up shelter Credit: Tamra Carr The Geraldton Guardian

Two elderly sisters are campaigning for the re-opening of the Geraldton Sobering Up Centre after a drunk man allegedly engaged in domestic violence caused a scene in Spalding.

Jill Murray, 68, said the incident occurred earlier this year, and involved a heavily intoxicated man “trying to bash his girlfriend” in the street.

Ms Murray said her brother-in-law opened his door so the victim could escape inside his home, then the man assaulted him.

The man fled, the police were called and the alleged perpetrator was later arrested.

Ms Murray explained charges were later dropped because her brother-in-law and sister feared for their life and would not testify.

“I hear most people back out from court in these kind of situations,” Ms Murray said.

“It’s pretty horrendous to have to experience that in your 70s.”

The attack inspired Ms Murray and sister Coral Cross to begin a petition to re-open the sobering up centre, so intoxicated people would have somewhere to stay.

She said she believed the closure of the centre was only putting pressure on Geraldton police and hospital staff and she felt people who were intoxicated didn’t belong in those facilities.

“The sobering up centre would keep hospital staff and police safe, as well as the community and the intoxicated people themselves, who can have someone care for them,” she said. “I think people want action on this.”

Geraldton Sobering Up Centre closed in December, 2017, after the Mental Health Commission de-funded it because attendance levels were low. Despite this, it was recently revealed the Carnarvon Sobering Up Centre had been re-funded even though the facility had fewer admissions than the Geraldton facility.

Ms Murray’s petition has been formatted to government standards and can be signed at Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney’s office at Druid’s Hall.

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