As part of our Link Housing 35 Year Birthday this year we are featuring a couple of our partner organisations who support us as a thriving Tier 1 community housing provider that delivers with care. Introducing – Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre (MWWRC).
Trish Bramble, General Manager at Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre (MWWRC), tells writer, Meaghan Brown, how her organisation and Link Housing have successfully worked together over the past 10 years, to help women in crisis secure safe and affordable accommodation.
MWWRC, founded in 1974, is a not-for-profit community-based service for women and vulnerable families, including women and children impacted by domestic violence (DV) and family violence. Their mission is ‘to ensure women, children and families are safe, secure, connected and given the opportunity and environment to thrive and achieve their aspirations’. With funding from local councils, partnerships with the likes of Mission Australia and their own fundraising, the charity assists women to transition from crisis accommodation (refuge and shelters) into more permanent accommodation options (Transitional, Social, Affordable Housing or Private rentals).
Based in the Northern Beaches, the organisation also works hard to raise awareness about DV and correct misconceptions.
Trish explains, “Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate, client circumstances vary and a mix of people across the socio-economic divide experience it. Not everyone is on Centrelink payments, a lot are working and there’s women from affluent situations with children in private schools that must access refuges.”
Women in crisis
According to Trish, crisis is a time of intense difficulty or danger for the women that she and her team helps. Women in these situations can find themselves alone and disconnected because they have been forced to relocate away from friends and family. They can be overwhelmed with trying to access much needed support services (e.g. Sole Parent Pension), put AVO’s in place, as well as adjust to a life that is suddenly very different, and a future that is very uncertain.
In one case, a woman came into MWWRC with three children to access refuge accommodation after her eldest son (14-years-old) made the phone call to them. He’d identified from the domestic violence information provided to him at school that his family needed protection.
A significant number of women access MWWRC after arriving in Australia (from other countries), who’ve married and have spousal or student visas, then suddenly experience DV. These situations may be complex when there’s children, immigration issues and no family or support networks.
“Women are more at risk when they’re pregnant or have recently given birth and have new born babies. Often domestic violence escalates at these times,” Trish says.
An extreme case was a mother who came to MWWRC sometime after she’d been attacked by her husband in front of her three toddlers. Her injuries were quite severe, and he’d prevented her from going to hospital.
These are the families that MWWRC and Link Housing work together to assist.
Moving beyond crisis Trish reinforces, “Everyone’s got the right to live safely without abuse. Her team are committed to helping women and their families move beyond crisis to live safely, and Link Housing plays a key role in helping to achieve this.
“The accommodation transitions from refuge to Transitional, or Affordable housing, have been enormously streamlined by the outstanding work of Link Housing staff. There are some shining stars there, for example, housing managers that travel to meet tenants onsite for lease signings simply to minimise stress for women in crisis. They also have an extraordinary Private Rental Specialist to assist women negotiate and secure commercial rentals. People like Link Housing are really special people that understand the complex needs of women and children in crisis and moving through refuge, Transition and Affordable Housing transitions. I’ve seen Link Housing staff act with great respect and support these clients through to the end of this process. They’re outstanding,“ Trish says.
MWWRC also provides crisis support services, including counselling for grief and loss, and access to a pro bono solicitor. Other family support services are; a weekly playgroup, after school homework classes, yoga, meditation and women’s group meetings and more. Combined with a safe place to stay and other support, Trish sees this help women to regain their strength, get back to work or training and make a good life for themselves after leaving DV. Children too become much more settled as they see their mum safe.
Link Housing is very proud of its 10-year partnership with MWWRC and we look forward to another decade of working together to help women and families in crisis. If you would like to find out more about MWWRC or donate please visit their website: http://womensrefuge.org.au/
We invite you to celebrate our Link Housing 35 Year Birthday with us on Sunday 17 November 2019, from 11am to 3pm at Chatswood Oval (Albert Ave & Orchard Rd) for a Sunday fun day with refreshments, entertainment and more!
Register your interest on our Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2491565137589225/