Official opening of Grace’s Place
Grace’s Place, the world’s first residential trauma recovery facility for children impacted by homicide, was officially opened by Federal Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, the Hon Emma McBride and NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman in Sydney’s west today.
Grace’s Place is named in honour of the late Grace Lynch, mother of nurse Anita Cobby, who was murdered in 1986. The facility was constructed with a combined $9.4 million capital works grant from the Commonwealth and NSW Government.
Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Emma McBride MP said Grace’s Place will give children affected by homicide a safe place to heal and restore.
“Half of all adult mental health challenges emerge before the age of 14 and traumatic events have a significant impact on a young person’s wellbeing,” the Assistant Minister said.
“The Federal Government is proud to invest in a world-first centre like Grace’s Place alongside the NSW Government to make sure children have the care and support they need to support their mental health and wellbeing as they recover from trauma.”
NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman said Grace’s Place will provide a safe environment for children and young people to begin the journey towards recovery.
“Grace’s Place will be a place of healing, as envisaged by Grace Lynch, providing counselling and therapeutic programs to children and their families who have lost loved ones to homicide,” Mr Speakman said.
“The NSW Government’s $3.3 million capital works contribution for Grace’s Place delivers on our 2019 election commitment and is part of our ongoing support for victims of crime and their families in this State.
“Grace, along with her husband Gary, provided tireless, caring support to many families of homicide in the years following their daughter’s tragic death. It is fitting that this wonderful facility is named in her honour. I also acknowledge Gary and Grace’s daughter and Homicide Victims Support Group Patron, Kathryn Szyszka, who has carried on their valuable work.”
Grace and Garry Lynch were relentless campaigners for victims’ families. In 1993, they became founding members of the Homicide Victims Support Group (HVSG), along with Christine and Peter Simpson, the parents of murdered schoolgirl Ebony Simpson.
HVSG Executive Director Martha Jabour OAM said today is a milestone for all involved in the construction of the facility.
“I am grateful to all levels of Government for their support, particularly the Commonwealth and State Government who provided $9.4 million to construct this world class, purpose built facility, and Blacktown City Council and Western Sydney Parklands who provided the land,” Ms Jabour said.
“An amazing array of people poured thousands of hours of work into the planning, development and fundraising for this project and we are immensely proud to see it come to fruition in this incredibly beautiful site,” Ms Jabour said.
Grace’s Place will be managed by the HVSG and become the organisation’s head office. HVSG will provide information and training to the public, health professionals, police and professional bodies about the needs of family members affected by homicide, as well as providing assistance to schools and hospitals.
Construction of Grace’s Place commenced with a ‘sod turn’ in September 2019. The facility will open its doors early next year, providing accommodation, counselling and support for up to 12 children and their carers from across NSW and elsewhere in Australia.