Women’s House Bus
By Women’s Community Aid Association
Women’s House desperately needs a new bus to continue to support women and children escaping violence.
Women’s House Shelta provides refuge accommodation, support and information to women and children experiencing violence. We have refuges for women and children fleeing domestic violence at confidential locations, and a publicly accessible office and community centre for women and their children.
Shelta is managed by the Women’s Community Aid Association (WCAA). WCAA was incorporated in 1975 and has been providing services to women who have experienced violence for over 40 years. We have a safe public community space providing domestic violence and sexual assault support, including outreach support for other domestic violence services. Our programs promote community awareness and education for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault. We have a library, computer hub, child care space and donations as well as rooms and equipment which are used by the broader community.
The mini-bus that we currently use was bought in 1999. It has sustained significant wear and tear, especially after the hailstorm in November of 2014. It needs constant repairs in order to be roadworthy. The repairs have become costly, both financially and in terms of worker time. The worry that the bus will breakdown in a crisis situation is becoming increasingly stressful for workers. The acquisition of a new bus was identified as an urgent priority in the organisation’s strategic and operational planning this year.
As the majority of our work at Shelta entails working with families in high risk situations, it is essential that we have a safe and reliable vehicle that can accommodate large numbers of children, adults and their belongings. The bus is particularly useful for property retrievals, where we accompany women, with police, to return to their previous residence to pick up their belongings. Police time is limited and these retrievals are often dangerous. As a large amount of items can be placed in a van without the need to tie them down, we are able to get away quickly.
Women’s House provides a space which gives women an opportunity to connect in a safe and supportive environment and provides a point of engagement for peer support and access to services. Our bus contributes to the inclusion of women and children who may otherwise be unable to attend.
Women’s House Shelta works in partnership with Domestic Violence Connect, the state-wide refuge referral service for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, to provide outreach support. We also use our bus to collect significant amounts of low cost and donated food from Food Bank and Oz Harvest, and distribute to women and children in our shelters and in the community.
When not used to transport the women and children who have experienced domestic violence, to distribute food or donated household goods, the bus is used by other community organisations to facilitate broader community participation in violence prevention initiatives.
While Women’s House can continue to operate without a bus, our ability to offer support to women and children affected by violence would be greatly diminished.
Donations are tax-deductible.