AN OVERVIEW OF THE WOMEN’S SHELTER ACTIVITIES FOR 2012-2013
Women’s Shelter Armidale (WSA) continued, throughout the year to provide a comprehensive range of support services to women and children in the New England region, and occasionally those further afield. Our main client group was comprised of women and children who had experienced or were at risk of experiencing Homelessness and/or Domestic Violence. The prime focus of support provided by the Women’s Shelter was, as always, to aid and empower Clients through the development of vital skills, insights and resources. In this way, clients were assisted to build and maintain satisfying and independent lifestyles, free from the trauma of abuse.
WSA programs comprised New England Women’s & Children’s Support Services and New England Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services. Women’s & Children’s Support Services involve a case-managed, client-focused, package of support services tailored to meet the needs of each client. Support Services included crisis intervention, short-term accommodation, assistance in accessing long-term accommodation, budget counseling, child support services, parenting support, advocacy & referral, personal development & support groups, counseling & other psychological services as well as educational opportunities. In addition WSA provided Legal Services for our clients through a brokerage arrangement with a local law firm. All Support clients, both adult and child, were allocated a primary support worker to assist them during this period. Together the client and her/his primary worker identified, and implemented, goals and strategies to assist in achieving the client’s desired outcomes. Case management of children was implemented in close collaboration with the children’s mothers.
All WSA services were available to both residential and non-residential clients. WSA staff employed a collaborative approach to case management, working in close cooperation with clients to ensure that each client’s autonomy was respected and that a well-coordinated support package was provided. All support services were provided free of charge thanks to continued, and generous, funding from The Department of Community Services and Legal Aid NSW.
In addition to our postventive support work WSA provided a range of preventative services. These included personal assistance for individuals who were at risk of experiencing domestic violence or personal hardship, and are described later in this report. In addition WSA maintained its commitment to the fostering of healthy, non-violent, relationships through community education. Several Community Education events were held to raise community awareness about the importance of healthy relationships and lifestyles. In this manner WSA strove to contribute to a reduction in the frequency of relational abuse in the New England region.
The New England Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (NEWDVCAS) provided court advocacy, to women who had experienced Domestic Violence, throughout the New England region. Staff attended courts on a regular basis at Armidale, Tamworth, Walcha, Glen Innes and Gunnedah. The role of the NEWDVCAS staff was to assist women in accessing the protection of the law, as a response to Domestic Violence.
PRESENTATION OF DATA RELATING TO CLIENT USAGE
A brief summary of client usage for WSA Women’s & Children’s Support Services is shown below.
TOTAL NUMBER OF CLIENTS
NUMBER OF ADULT CLIENTS
NUMBER OF CHILD CLIENTS
NUMBER OF NON-RESIDENT CLIENTS
NUMBER OF INDIVIDUAL RESIDENT CLIENTS
TOTAL NUMBER OF RESIDENT BED-NIGHTS
NUMBER OF ONE-TO-ONE SUPPORT EVENTS: RESIDENTS
NUMBER OF ONE-TO-ONE SUPPORT EVENTS: NON-RESIDENTS