Former NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione will sleep rough for Georges River Life Care Centre's fundraiser for domestic violence victims

Back in force: Former NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione (pictured right) is helping pastor Glenn Power of Georges River Life Care Centre raise awareness of victims of domestic violence. Picture: John Veage
Back in force: Former NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione (pictured right) is helping pastor Glenn Power of Georges River Life Care Centre raise awareness of victims of domestic violence. Picture: John Veage

From taking charge as the head of police to taking the reins of a major community cause, Andrew Scipione is back on the scene to help those most vulnerable.

After a quieter 12 months in the back seat, the former NSW police commissioner is leading a new charge, raising funds for victims of domestic violence.

The St George resident is helping with a charity event organised by Georges River Life Care Centre, Peakhurst.

For a decade the centre has provided vital services including free legal advice, counselling, food, and emergency and financial relief.

Sleeping Rough is Life Care’s annual fundraiser to support women escaping domestic violence. 

Participants will experience a night of hardship and sleep on the concrete in a car park opposite Club Rivers at Riverwood.

The aim is to raise $20,000.

It will be Mr Scipione’s first public project since signing off as commissioner last year.

“This is my church, but on a bigger picture, this is a great initiative,” he said.

“In my time as commissioner, I’ve seen some horrific numbers in domestic violence and in particular, sexual violence and the impact it has on children.

“It was the most under-reported crime we had to investigate.

“The rate of growth is spiralling and there is an enormous need out there.”

Mr Scipione said his desire to help was inspired by a memorable meeting during his time on the job.

“What brought me to this point is because not that long ago, I met a young girl, she was 12.

“She wrote me a letter asking if I could help, so I invited her and her grandmother to talk to me in my office.

“She told me a story about her domestic violence experience with her mother. They had to keep moving and running from her father.

“One morning her mother woke her up and said to her ‘I’m sorry what you’ve been through.’

“A short time later the police knocked on their door.

“Her mum had gone out the back and taken her own life.

“It cut me to the core and really captured the reason why I have to keep this issue current.”

Mr Scipione said after almost 12 months of being out of the force, he was looking forward to making a positive contribution again.

“I’ve got no excuses  – I’m not in the workplace so I can set the time aside,” he said.

“I gave myself the challenge of doing very little formal work and this is my first move back into something more formal.

“I like to think I’m self-employed now.

“My job often alienated me from people a bit so I’ve made it my business to re-establish myself in the community.

“It is about giving women hope.”

This year marks the 5th year of the sleep out event.

Life Care pastor Glenn Power says having Mr Scipione’s involvement will raise greater awareness of the cause on a local level. 

“We have an incredible amount of integrity in what we do and Andrew’s leadership in this area is vital,” he said.

“We want other men like him to speak out against domestic violence because majority of our clients are victims of it. 

“This is about turning the figures around, and helping to break the cycle so victims don’t become perpetrators.

“It’s important to engage them in these social connections to build their confidence.”

At the April 19 sleep out there will be a dinner at 6pm for $40 per person and entertainment from 8.30pm. A barbecue breakfast will be provided in the morning.

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