Who We Are
The Office of the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement
The NSW Women’s Refuge Movement has an office that was founded as a way to have a central point of contact for the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement (WRM): which represents a network with a total of 55 refuges and affiliate services for both women and children that have escaped domestic violence across NSW.
The Office of the NSW WRM has full support for the aims and activities that was set by the WRM as an organization that encompasses the entire state and is committed to providing a continuum of services to homeless women and children who are also prone to risks of being homeless especially when it’s all because of family and domestic violence. The WRM operates within the framework of a feminist philosophy advocating for social justice and human rights for women and children in the context of unequal power relations in society.
- Supports and cooperates with a government on behalf of WRM Members.
- Assists in the provision of administrative support and policy development for WRM Members.
- Gives resources and information for the boarder community about domestic violence and seeks to create boarder awareness of the issues relating to domestic violence.
- The Executive Officer’s role includes representing the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement in line with endorsed policies and philosophies.
- Gives resources and information about issues related to domestic violence including Aboriginal, CALD, LGBTIQ, legal, children, older women, disabilities, mental illness, housing and sexual assault.
- Facilities interaction, networking and linkages between the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement and other relevant services at a state and national level.
- Resources the NSW women’s refuge workers on boarder issues such as government policy, legislations and special project.
- Aims to raise community awareness of domestic violence and the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement.
- Support for improved responses to the needs of women and children who have experienced or are escaping domestic violence.
- Undertakes special projects to coordinate consistent policies and approaches across a diverse range of service models.
- Collaborate with the media on behalf of the Women’s Refuge Movement.
NSW Women’s Refuge Movement Working Party
The NSW Women’s Refuge Movement Inc has a governing body that is named the WRM Working Party. It is made up of elected delegates that are coming from nine regions that cover NSW together with 5 specialist supporting groups.
The Working Party’s role is to monitor the management of the NSW WRM Services, Child Support Conferences, and special projects and the implementation of policy decisions created by the members at NSW WRM State.
The Working Party delegates are representing the needs of their members as well as the women and children in their region that they support of or a specialist support group.
The statewide specialist support groups were founded as a way to recognize the disadvantages that have been experienced by other groups and also to provide a support forum, networking, and advocacy for some particular issues.
The specialist support groups include the following: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Support, Lesbian Support, Koori Support (Walan Jineras), Child Support and the Older Women’s Delegate position.
The Delegates hold their meetings at the Office of the WRM in Sydney on every 3rd Friday of the month. Special meetings can also be held outside these meetings if ever there’s a need to discuss urgent matters as it grows.
The Aims and Objectives of the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement Working Party are as follows:
- To represent the member refuges all over NSW by including them through the endorsed regional delegates and specialist Koori, LGBTIQ, CALD, Older Women and Child Support delegates on Working Party.
- To make sure that the WRM policy of equal representation is being mirrored at Working Party and any representation, delegation, or any other sub-group that the Working Party have an involvement to.
- To deliver an unbiased approach towards the development of the refuge service for both women and children.
- To talk about awareness within the community regarding issues that are about domestic violence as well as the services women and children’s refuges provide.
- To fully implement decisions that were promoted during the NSW WRM State Conferences and Special Issues Days.
- To work on special projects as it was agreed upon during the State Conferences and Special Issues Days.
- To conduct research and provide the necessary material to state conferences as it was asked by the NSW women’s and women and children’s refuges.
- To orient delegates, through education and skill-sharing, about the goals and aims of the NSW WRM.
- To educate the community regarding the goals and aims of the WRM.
The NSW Women’s Refuge Movement Business Centre
With the Working Party being a management body of the NSW WRM Inc., it still continues to monitor the operations and management of the nine women’s and women and children’s refuge in the entirety of the NSW.
The NSW WRM Inc has taken responsibility of temporarily managing Bourke and Wilcannia Women and Children’s Safe Houses in 2011-12.
The refuges management is being supported via the Managed Refuge Management and Support Structure (MRMSS). The MRMSS structure is looking to distribute these opportunities and responsibilities further to take part in the WRM by using their upper hand of basing their management structures regionally for managed refuges to make sure that the support has total quality and consistent are given to these refuges. Apart from enhancing the management support of these refuges, the structure also further builds the WRM’s capability of providing management support to the other refuges that may go through operational difficulties in the future.
The structure’s implementation is being supported by the Business Centre Coordinator.
The key responsibility of the Business Centre is to provide some assistance to the Working Party so that they can effectively evaluate and monitor the progress of the MRMSS as it was identified in the reporting and activities of the Combined Regional Management Committee, Managed Refuges, and Regional Management Committees.
Another purpose of the Working Party’s role is to provide support to the members of these management parties is to assist them in carrying out their support and governance roles to the managed refuges.
Specialist Support Groups
To recognize the disadvantages that were experienced by certain groups, a statewide network was formed so that they can provide a support forum, advocacy, and networking in raising specific issues. These include:
- Koori Support (Walan Jimeras), The NSW WRM Koori Support Group (Walan Jineras) was created and founded by the Aboriginal women in the NSW WRM as a support network to make sure that the safe houses and member refuges will give out culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal women and children that have escaped and been through domestic and family violence.
A majority of the refuges that are under the WRM have pointed the Koori Support positions, promoted as a good practice that was implemented inside the WRM.
The Walam Jineras hold their meetings regularly and ensures that any rising problems that are related to Aboriginal women and children accessing the services remains focusing on the agenda.
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Support, our aims and objectives include:
To provide assistance to the refuge workers of the linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds;
To provide workshops to relevant problems that are affecting the refuge so that they can improve their workers’ skills;
To encourage the founding and development of a network of services for women and children that have CALD backgrounds;
To research about the requirements of CALD women and children accessing refuge services, the needs of the refuge workers who are supporting these women and children, and come up with strategies that can guarantee that these needs are met;
To make sure that CALD women and children are being brought up in the discussion, planning, and policy-making at every level in the women’s services and refuge movement as a whole.
We are inviting all NESB workers to take part in the group, so that it will allow us to continue advocating for, and represent the interests of the entire CALD women and children members that have just escaped domestic violence.
LGBTIQ Support – LEAPS – Lesbian Education, Advocacy & Peer Support Group
The objective of LEAPS is to provide assistance to all the rights of Lesbians that are part of the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement. To advocate and address and issues related to Lesbians which include:
- Isolation in Services
- Discrimination and other related problems that are formed for being a minority group. The improved results and service engagement that has something to do with same sex domestic violence.
The Child Support Workers have some people represent them on the NSW WRM Working Party. Their representative is also the one attending the state and community meetings that are related to the Child Support issues and brings back information to refuges as it was required and at NSW WRM Child Support Conferences.
Because of the wider area that is covered, the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement comes up with having Regional meetings so that refugees that are within the area can meet regularly for the sole purpose of sharing information as well as discussing important issues that are related to their region and even the ‘Movement’ in general. A region-endorsed delegate, will be representing the region during the monthly meeting held by the Working Party.
A lot of the policy decisions that as affected the Movement are done during the state conferences of the Women’s Refuge Movement. These conferences are taking place thrice a year and all the refuges are obliged to have their proposals be heard and discussed during these meetings.