Help needed to run Camden's new women’s domestic violence shelter

Women and children fleeing domestic violence will soon have a new place to stay. Picture: Rebecca Hallas
Women and children fleeing domestic violence will soon have a new place to stay. Picture: Rebecca Hallas

Camden's new women's refuge needs your help.

Residents, local businesses and community organisations are invited to attend an information forum to find out how they can lend a helping hand in establishing Camden’s first domestic violence shelter.

The forum, run by Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) in partnership with Camden Council and the Camden-Wollondilly Domestic Violence Committee, will be held on Wednesday, March 20 from 7pm at the Camden Civic Centre.

WCS chief executive Annabelle Daniel said support from the Camden community was absolutely crucial in establishing and running a successful shelter.

“We’re looking for a keen group of people to serve, initially, on the steering committee and then to become a Board and oversee the shelter once it’s established,” Ms Daniel said.

“There will be even more opportunities to volunteer. If someone has expertise in fundraising, HR, social media, legal, on boards or with community organisations, we would welcome their interest.

"There will also be various tasks to be done to set-up the shelter and then to keep it running – everything from providing cookery classes to admin help.

“We’ve found that establishing a shelter brings a whole community on a journey of understanding women’s homelessness and domestic and family violence.

“At some, the local butcher donates a meat tray once a week for the women and kids. A local gardening business has maintained the shelter grounds for us. A local computer expert might volunteer to create a website.

"All these things make a huge difference – and we’re hoping for the same in Camden."

Ms Daniel will speak at the forum, along with a representative from the Narellan Police Area Command, Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services coordinator Tanya Whitehouse and domestic violence survivor Lisa McAdams, who will share her shelter experience.

Camden mayor Peter Sidgreaves said the council would continue to have a zero tolerance policy to any sort of violence and offer help to victims and their support systems.

“Helping establish this shelter is another stand we’re taking against domestic violence,” Cr Sidgreaves said.

“We’re working hard on initiatives to spread the White Ribbon message and continue to create a united front against the issue of domestic violence.”

The shelter will provide crisis accommodation for up to six women and their children in the Camden area, as well as client-centred case management plans.

It will be linked to transitional housing, allowing women to develop a rental history and set them on the path to reentering the mainstream housing market.

For more information, Camden-Wollondilly Domestic Violence Committee on 4640 7333.