Domestic Violence NSW has been created to be the peak, statewide body that represents a broad range of specialist family and domestic violence services across the state of New South Wales.
DVNSW operates from a feminist perspective looking at the social justice angle towards improving the continuum of program, policy and legislative responses to the issues of domestic and family violence and towards the elimination of DFV through offering leadership in partnerships, advocacy and promoting good practice.
Previously known as the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement, this welfare charity organisation started in 1974 when a small assemblage of feminist activists initiated the first refuge for women in New South Wakes named Elsie.
The Refuge Movement worked in addressing the lack of other alternatives and options for women during that period through offering children and women a safe option for escaping domestic and family violence. Elsie in NSW was a forerunner to setting up or precursor to the more refuges as well as a diversity of several specialist family and domestic violence services.
Recognizing the changing environment of services from the traditional refuge model into integrated and holistic specialist services for domestic violence, members in July 2013 voted for expanding the organization membership to include all specialist family and domestic violence services working inside the broad feminist framework. It was also agree to alter the name to Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW) from the older one, NSW Women’s Refuge Movement.
The Work of Domestic Violence NSW
The work of DVNSW includes:
- Policy development, research and advice to the sector and government
- Supporting the growth and implementing early intervention and primary prevention work including integrated DFV responses that prioritize wellbeing and safety, and holding the DFV perpetrators to account
- Representation & Advocacy
- Education & training
- Supporting the growth of good practice services and responses
DVNSW is operating and working with a varied range of services, agencies, and organisations
The DVNSW Response
A response to DFV that is comprehensive must be a whole response by the community and the Government and must include:
- An integrated human service and justice system response towards issues of DFV that gives priority to the wellbeing and safety of victims and that which seeks to hold those perpetrators fully accountable.
- Challenging beliefs, attitudes and systems that not are not just condoning violence but even those which are reinforcing and maintaining inequality between the women and men.
- Eradicating barriers to children’s and women empowerment and safety wherever those are occurring.
Member organisations of DVNSW specialize in offering a comprehensive variety of advocacy and support services empowering the women as well as their children to be able to live lives that are free and safe violence.
Members of DVNSW are operating across responses that range from violence prevention all way to crisis responses. This will include support, safety planning and outreach, advocacy, case management support, court assistance, legal and housing assistance, referrals, information, and training.
The kind of advocacy work that is being carried out by Domestic Violence NSW is largely informed by a range of diverse sector experiences. The organisation exists to stand for the needs and interests of children and women who are affected by family and domestic violence.