Back to the project page of Violence against women

The Haven Project seeks to bring together community organisations to refurbish and improve existing women’s refuges, with the aim of providing women fleeing domestic violence not only with shelter, but a haven where they can be psychologically supported in a dignified, respectful manner.

The Haven Project emerged from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick’s work with women who were victims of domestic and family violence and following her visits to women’s refuges around the country and discussions with representatives of the women’s refuge sector about the quality of accommodation offered to their clients.

Domestic and family violence continues to be the major cause of homelessness in Australia. Though clients had not put it into so many words, discussions with refuge workers and associated experts in the field revealed some genuine concerns. The feeling was that, when a woman leaves a violent and degrading situation, the greeting that the cold institutionalised environments, which many of these refuges have become, offers them was psychologically tantamount to being abused all over again.

Looking for something concrete that could be done, Elizabeth assembled a foundation group to drive the project forward consisting of members from – ALTIS Architects, the Australian Human Rights Commission, Buildcorp, The George Institute for Global Health and Domestic Violence NSW (previously the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement).

In 2012, a domestic violence refuge in the Sydney area was refurbished, with contributions from the foundation group partners and many others - including Bunnings and Rotary International - who contributed financial support, labour, skills or materials.

See a short film, documenting the refurbishment here: