MWRC Women’s Shelter
The Shelter provides crisis accommodation for women and children escaping domestic and family violence.
Since establishment in 1991 the Shelter has operated as a crisis response centre for women and children experiencing family and domestic violence in the Fitzroy Valley.
In 2017 the Women’s Shelter underwent a comprehensive review of the way it operates to develop a new strengths-based and trauma-informed model for women and children seeking support. This review was based on talking with community women across the Fitzroy Valley, other service providers, and other women's shelters in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Since this review, the introduction of more healing-informed spaces has elevated the Shelter’s atmosphere. While the building itself is over 30 years old, we are continuously looking into ways in which we can improve on the physical spaces to better provide feelings of safety and support to families.
Fundamentally, the Shelter provides:
- Safe and supported crisis accommodation
- Intensive short-term support and facilitated referral pathways
- Risk assessments, safety planning and access to a range of Marninwarntikura services including:
- Legal support for information and follow up around legal proceedings
- Therapeutic supports including counselling and art therapy in one on one or group-based formats
- Intensive case management support around practical issues and needs
- Assistance for children by working closely with Baya Gawiy Early Childhood Learning Unit and the Child and Parent Centre, designed as an early intervention strategy to interrupt the intergenerational cycle of violence and trauma
- Access to The Marulu Team who can provide information and practical support on FASD and early life trauma
- The Marnin Studio where women can engage in creating art, assisting with therapeutic healing.
- The Women’s Resource Centre where women and families can access a calming space, healing garden, donations, and material aid.
Women's Shelter Care and Support Model
We believe that every person who reaches out to the Shelter is entitled to be spoken to with respect and sensitivity by a competent and professional staff member. We pride ourselves on engaging with our women in a culturally appropriate and respectful manner.
The Shelter's support model identifies strengths of the women and families that we support and works towards increasing understanding of the impact of trauma. All aspects of Shelter support and engagement are based on the central element of prioritising safety, healing, and self-determination.
We understand that individuals and communities can heal from trauma inflicted on them by discriminatory Government practices, and that family, domestic, and sexual violence (FDSV) is a result of and reinforced by the harmful impacts of colonisation. Through community-led responses, adequate resourcing and empowerment, we also understand that FDSV in our communities can be prevented.
We operate from a non-judgemental space and the understanding that there are significant complexities associated with leaving FDSV, for example:
- It is very common for it to take multiple attempts to leave a violent relationship
- For some, accessing the Shelter may be safe on a temporary respite basis only
- Women are the experts of their own experiences
- Limited access to safe and affordable housing and services can act as pressure for women to return to the relationship.
Our Shelter Guidelines
Looking to the Future
We are always looking at what changes can be made to the Shelter environment to create a safer, calmer and more healing environment. Currently funded by the Department of Communities, Marninwarntikura has been advocating for a purpose-built Shelter facility for several years. We will continue to advocate and explore possibilities to give our community members state of the art services and best practice models of support that they deserve.
If you would like to donate to women and children in crisis, please click here.
Working with men
The community identifies a large gap in Fitzroy Crossing for the provision of support for men’s healing and a 'whole of valley' approach to working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence. Marninwarntikura is working on a solutions-based community response and continue to raise this issue. MWRC collaborates with the Men’s Shed and other services to identify funding and support options.
A review was conducted in 2017 to investigate a revised service delivery model for the Shelter. View the report (PDF 1.4MB)