This year’s 16 Days in WA campaign saw two new women’s refuges opened by the Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence.
The new refuges in Kwinana and the Peel region will provide vital accommodation and support for women and children escaping family and domestic violence across the state.
The opening events were an opportunity to recognise the efforts of Department of Communities staff, refuge service providers, family and domestic violence sector organisations, community members and those with lived experience who have contributed to these projects.
The Warlang Bidi–Supporting Women and Children refuge in Peel is WA’s first therapeutic women’s refuge. It will be operated by OVIS Community Services (previously Pat Thomas House) in partnership with Allambee Counselling, who will coordinate therapeutic services at the refuge. They consulted with local Elders, stakeholders and community members when choosing the name, which means “healthy path” in Noongar and reflects the therapeutic health focus of the refuge.
It will be the first of its kind in WA to provide holistic support services, tailored to the needs of the person seeking assistance including mental health support, alcohol and drug counselling, and support for women whose children have been taken into care.
The Andrea Mia women’s refuge in Kwinana was opened during the final weekend of the 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign. The refuge’s location will respond to a need for more family and domestic violence crisis accommodation in the southern corridor.
The refuge, which will be operated by the Lucy Saw Centre Association, will include a focus on women with disability, women with larger families including older boys, older women, Aboriginal women and women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Andrea Mia means “Andrea’s House” and has been named in tribute to Andrea Pickett, who passed away as a result of family and domestic violence in 2009. Her passing led to the 2012 Hope Inquest, which was a catalyst for significant change in WA’s family and domestic violence system. With the permission and blessing of Andrea’s family, her name has been chosen for a safe and secure place for women and children to call home.
In July 2020, both women’s refuges received additional funding of $2 million per refuge through the WA Recovery Plan for construction of an additional six units at each site; doubling their original capacity.
This coincided with the release of Path to Safety – a 10 year strategy which sets out a plan for government and community to address family and domestic violence in WA.