Blue Mountains Council has debated the calamity of domestic violence, calling on the state government to restore women's specialist refuges. Council last week resolved to write to the premier and responsible minister calling for an "urgent meeting" between Domestic Violence NSW and the government "to address the impact that recent policy reforms have had on the provision of women's refuges". In an unusual move, councillors stood in silence to support the resolution, rather than voting with a show of hands. Those in the public gallery joined them. Mayor Mark Greenhill said domestic violence was "worse than an epidemic, it's a calamity". Women's advocates addressed the meeting, including Susie van Opdorp, from Katoomba Women's Health and Resource Centre, who said changes made by the NSW Government had reduced services. "There were 100 women's domestic violence services funded - now there are 20 left," she said. "Many provided safe havens." One of those affected was Blue Gum at Katoomba, which had been helping families affected by violence for 30 years until forced to close last year, Ms van Opdorp said. The cuts had also made it impossible to offer help to all who needed it. "In the past 12 weeks in the Nepean and Blue Mountains, 500 women have been turned away," she said. Clr Don McGregor said at least one woman died each week as a result of domestic violence in Australia. "Twenty-two women have died since January 1 this year. Domestic violence is the largest volume of crime the NSW police deal with," he said. "How can the Baird Government attempt to portray itself as a champion in reducing domestic violence while closing down women's domestic violence facilities across NSW? "Council condemns domestic violence and wants to work with the federal and state governments to reduce the huge impact domestic violence has on women and children and the whole community." Anita Cox, co-ordinator of the Blue Mountains Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Scheme, told the Gazette her service had received 130 new clients in the first two months of this year and was struggling to cope. She said earlier government reforms had provided opportunities to make a positive difference for women and children, but recent changes had led to cuts. "How can we move forward when the existing services that we rely on are being reduced," she asked. Council is a member of the Coalition Against Violence and Abuse, working with other agencies to reduce the impact of domestic violence.