The Zonta House Women’s Refuge in Perth Western Australia recently received funding of $200,000 to support the work of the long standing refuge in Perth. It is a one off grant from the Criminal Confiscations Grant Program and is being used to enhance the work of Perth’s largest network of Women’s Refuges, a combined project of the Zonta Clubs of Western Australia. This funding will be used to support Zonta House’s Positive Pathways to Safety for Women and the Community project.
According to police statistics more than 8,000 West Australians were assaulted in a domestic environment between July 2011 and March 2012. It’s important to note these are the assaults that police responded to, and there would be significantly more that are not reported to police. This means that every day in Western Australia at least 29 people were victims of physical harm within their household structure.
“Zonta House currently provides immediate relief, by way of accommodation and social services but does not have the resources to journey with women to rebuild their lives. As a result women often return to housing options which make them vulnerable to continued violence”, said Mary Gurgone Chair, Zonta House Women’s Refuge.
The preventative measures within the “Positive Pathways” project focus on empowering women to make choices about their life before a crisis point is realised. Advocacy, education and support around housing options, addressing debt, financial guidance, emotional resilience and improving communications skills can prevent homelessness. There would be many women who feel “trapped” in their abusive relationship due to the inability to secure housing and support. This project will support women to make the transition from refuge accommodation to community housing and eventually private rental and home ownership through ongoing service provision, support, skill development and advocacy. It will also provide women with a structured environment to experience mentoring, education, fiscal management and counselling which will empower them to make good decisions on their future.
“We are very excited about creating a “one stop shop” which will result in women feeling truly supported and valued as well as providing them with confidence to make brave choices about their life”, said Mary Gurgone- Member of the Zonta Club of Perth.