Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia (WoSSCA) is a not-for-profit, non-government organisation that operates on a feminist framework and is committed to assisting and enabling women and children experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence. We provide several services which include: 24-hour crisis accommodation, urban and remote outreach services, court support, Men’s Behaviour Change partner support and community development and training.
We provide support services for all women and their children in Central Australia, who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence. We help women in Alice Springs, in broader Central Australia as well as across borders - our services reach women and children in communities across the tri-state region of Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
We provide a range of services including:
Shelter - along with crisis support and accommodation for women and their children, we provide case management, risk assessment and safety planning. Women can also be referred to external services to ensure they get the support they need, specific to their circumstances.
Outreach Program - the Urban Outreach Team provides responsive case work support, to women and their children experiencing domestic and family violence in Alice Springs, including town camps. The Remote Outreach Team supports women living in the four remote communities: Yuendumu, Papunya, Anmatjere (Ti Tree) and Ntaria (Hermannsburg).
Court Support - we have a dedicated court support case worker who can provide assistance to women in various situations, including: referring them to legal services, helping those giving evidence in cases about incidences of violence; assisting women when making an application to the court to obtain a Domestic Violence Order; talking through the details of the court process; assisting women to access legal advice; attending legal services appointments and court with women.
Training - we deliver specialised training for professionals and community members on issues affecting women’s safety. Our courses range from tailored training sessions for businesses, to one day workshops for those working in the fields of domestic, family and sexual violence. Our training helps keep experienced professionals up to date and informed on their industry, as well as introducing health and safety service providers new to the region, to the uniqueness of service provision in the Central Australian context.
Partner Support - the Tangentyere Family Violence Prevention Program delivers the Men’s Behaviour Change Program (MBCP). Our partner support case worker is the contact point for women who are partners and ex-partners of men engaged in the MBCP and that case worker provides support, advice and information for women, to help them make choices around their safety, wellbeing and rights.
Our primary function is to provide support and help increase the safety of women who are experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence. Our service provision is women led, strength based and Trauma Informed. Our confidential services help women access support, information and referrals to other services. We work closely with women to achieve goals they have identified as priorities, whilst maintaining a focus on safety. Across the service, staff act as advocates for women and their children. Our goal is to enable women to make informed decisions, and that all women and children can live free from domestic violence, with dignity and respect.
We are a feminist organisation, and in line with the extensive research on the subject, we see violence in a gendered way. We recognise that domestic, family and sexual violence is more commonly experienced by women, as a result of male behaviours that are grounded in power and control and gender inequality.
Common male beliefs that women are not equal, that their roles are less vital and that violence towards them can be excused are often the motivators for violent behaviour. We are here to support women and to advocate for men’s behavioural change.
Our Vision and Mission
Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia (formerly the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter), was first established in 1975 as a small independent service called ‘The Women’s Centre’. It was set up by the local Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) and its first home was in Bath Street. Unfunded and run by volunteers, the centre provided emergency support (but not accommodation) for women experiencing domestic and family abuse.
The Women’s Centre became The Women’s Community House in 1981, The Alice Springs Women’s Shelter in 1991 and finally, today, Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia. Our new premises were officially launched on 15th July 2019 and along with our staff, our networks, our board and our patron, we will continue to strive to improve the vital services we provide to the women of Central Australia.
Throughout our history, the organisation has experienced a number of challenges, including issues with funding, politics, facilities, understaffing, racism and more. Through it all, our primary function has remained unchanged – to support women in maximising their own and their children’s safety, if they have experienced domestic, family or sexual violence.
For more on the history of our organisation see here.
Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia is a non-government organisation, based in Alice Springs, Central Australia.
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