A new shelter model in regional rural Australia (澳洲鄉村的新庇護所模型)

11/06/2019 - 11:15 to 11/06/2019 - 12:45
Proposal(Workshop / Presentation)
Coordinating organization: 
Annie North Inc. Women's Refuge and Domestic Violence Service
New Methods in Shelter Management and Social Work
Organization Name: 
Annie North Inc. Women's Refuge and Domestic Violence Service (婦女庇護與家暴事件服務)
Proposer: Julie Oberin
Describe your workshop/presentation (300-500 words): 
This presentation will showcase an innovative shelter model which began operating in May 2018 in a regional city in Victoria, Australia. The model was thoughtfully designed after many years of researching other shelter models and talking to women with lived experience of gender-based violence. We asked them what were the features of shelters they have used which they liked and what features would they like in the shelters of the future. This new shelter is one example of an innovative model which provides a number of new features for women and children needing to seek shelter in a crisis.
We have succeeded in making it a place of safety, hope and dignity, enabling all of the supports and services to come into the facility to support the families rather than them having to go out and seek the various supports they need from different service providers. It enables families to remain in their own communities and is part of a broader integrated system response to gender-based violence against women. The model engages the local community in supporting the families and keeping the facility safe through a volunteer program and extensive media presence. Many of the women with lived experience of violence told us that they would like to get on with looking forward to the future when they came to a shelter, not just focus on the trauma and violence they had experienced. Professional case management and therapeutic services are provided by skilled staff, however we have also enabled much more for the women and children through the design of the facility. These features include:
-remote witness video conferencing direct to Court so women don't have to physically attend Court;
-computer laboratory for women to stay connected, access resources, develop or update their resume, or undertake on-line learning to build their confidence in returning to study or work;
-double teaching kitchen which is also used to have shared cooking to stimulate casual conversation in English for those with English as a second language or for clients to get to know each other;
- play group, kindergarten and tutoring for children until it is safe for them to go back to kindergarten or school;
- sensory garden, and garden spaces to undertake therapy through gardening;
-art therapy spaces, group work, and counselling spaces;
-focus on children as clients in their own right and the safety and well-being of children being paramount but still with a focus on nurturing the mother/child relationship which has often broken down due to the violence;
-one-way observational window for professional development or observation (with consent of course);
-self-contained apartments all with disability access;
-play ground and BBQ facilities; and
-a combined regional after-hours response which services an entire regional and rural area and supports the shelter 24/7 and enables women in crisis direct access into the shelter complex when previous models place women in motels/hotels as an interim arrangement. These are just some of the features.