Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

St Vincent de Paul Society NSW chief executive Yolanda Saiz (Vinnies NSW)

The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has opened a new purpose-built women’s refuge in Western Sydney, which will provide supported crisis accommodation for women over 45 who are seeking refuge from domestic and family violence. 

Funding from the New South Wales Government has allowed the society to redevelop the existing refuge, one of the only services in NSW that is specifically targeted to older females who are experiencing homelessness and domestic and family violence.

The new building provides independent living for five single women in self-contained accommodation, while also offering access to on-site support services to help rebuild their lives.

For women living at the facility, these trauma-informed, wrap-around services will follow a flexible, person-centred framework. Individual support plans will be coordinated by a caseworker and will aim to meet specific health, education, employment, social and legal needs.

Yolanda Saiz, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW chief executive, said there was a “need for specialised, tailored services for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence”

“For older women, the experience is often coupled with extreme social isolation and disconnection from friends, family and the broader community,” Ms Saiz said.

“Often the women are from a culturally and linguistically diverse background and because of their age, limited English, minimal family support networks and past trauma can find it extremely difficult to re-establish themselves in the community.

“The new facility offers multiple forms of intensive wrap-around supports including crisis accommodation, case management to women within the service and the community, and access to an activities and support program.”

Last year, domestic and family violence was the main reason for people seeking assistance from the society’s housing and homelessness services. The society supported 2311 people dealing with domestic and family violence, with three women seeking assistance from domestic and family violence services every 8 hours.


New Refuge for Women Escaping Domestic Violence (St Vincent de Paul Society NSW)