Is to provide a safe inclusive environment to empower and inspire women to rebuild their lives with dignity. We do this through:
- Offering a safe haven for women and their children escaping domestic violence
- Providing knowledge and support with a strengths based focus
- Working in partnership with women to build the confidence to regain control of their lives
- Providing services which inspire the strength to rebuild an independent life free from violence
- Establishing a sense of community, connection and safety to enhance well being
Who we are:
When I heard the staggering domestic violence statistics for the Penrith region, I couldn’t sleep. I kept wondering what happened to these women and children and how I could help them. That’s when I approached Annabelle, CEO of Women’s Community Shelters about opening another shelter.
I am a practicing lawyer and also have a commerce degree. My qualifications and work have enabled me to provide a sense of commerciality to all things business in establishing The Haven. I think my call to the law is also what has called me to The Haven – in both I am trying to do for people what they can’t do for themselves.
I came to the Board with a passion and a determination to effect change. I knew something more could and should be done to help women and children who experience domestic violence.
I am an Industrial Relations Professional who has negotiated many support systems within work places for women experiencing domestic and family violence as well as negotiated some of the most superior domestic violence clauses into Enterprise Agreements within the country. I am an advocate for equality and workplace safety for all workers, and will use my experience to assist not only the employees of The Haven but also the women who stay with us and call The Haven home.
I am a relatively new resident of the Nepean – Blue Mountains area and have come to really love the community I am now a part of. One unfortunate feature of this community is the unwanted record of having the highest incidence of reported Domestic Violence in Sydney. There are a number of stories of my own I could share, and my childhood experience of domestic unrest came at the hands of mental illness and mismanagement of the illness itself. It made me immune to the subtleties, the tell-tale signs I would be able to observe in others’ situations but not my own. It wasn’t until I saw that fear, love and confusion, intertwined in my son’s eyes during a particularly heated argument with my husband, that I could see the bed I had made for myself and I vowed to never see that look in his eyes again and left. I joined The Haven so I could, in some way help those children affected, to separate fear and love and understand one does not have a place with the other. Fear is the opposite of Love, and Love is all I want these children to feel.
The confronting statistics are one in three women will experience physical and/or sexual violence by someone known to them. Most people assume this violence is physical but the statistic I see far too often is that the control is often financial. As someone who has a mainly female workforce and who is an advocate for female financial literacy, this is something that I'm confronted with on a far-too regular basis.
My aim is to bring my business and financial background as both an accountant and a financial advisor to my Treasury position on the Board as well as providing a financial literacy role to families who have sought refuge at The Haven.
Rebecca, Board Member
The domestic violence statistics in the Penrith region are compelling and they just can’t be ignored. I am also conscious that domestic violence does not only involve physical acts. It often looks like financial control and this is an area I can help with. With my background in finance – I can help rationalize numbers and set a path in front of women leaving these situations.
I am passionate about lifting those around us. With 16 years’ experience as a business owner, I am blessed to have the skills and experience to mentor other people to grow and thrive, including raising my daughters by example to be strong independent women who make their own choices.
Tricia, Board Member
Many years ago when I was a young Detective a woman came to see me. She was distraught and had been horribly abused by her husband. I spent a long time with her that day, offering her every option I could to get her out of that house but in the end, she wanted to go home to be with her children. She promised to come back the next day, but she never did. That has haunted me ever since, and I want to make sure no one ever feels that desperate ever again.
As the Deputy Mayor of Penrith and a local business owner I have an opportunity to shine a spotlight on domestic violence and educate our community. It is happening and we need it to stop.
Karen, Board Member
As a child raised in the 1970’s in rural NSW, I have personal experience of the significant impact that violence against women can have on a child. My mother, sister and I were victims of an alcohol charged, aggressive and domineering husband and father. After leaving home, I started to find the courage to challenge my father’s behaviour and channelled my emotions into action. Throughout my 25 years working in secondary school education, I have advocated for women and enacted initiatives to help women back into the workforce. As a person with personal experience of DV and as a champion of women, a passionate educator and advocate for children, I am honoured to help the many women and children who are ready to break free of the cycle of domestic violence.
Adrian, Board Member
I lead a team that’s provides Hardship assistance to customers experiencing financial difficulty. Everyday in my position at work, I see customers who present with domestic violence and economic abuse. Women who are concerned about their ability to maintain their repayments as well as providing housing for their children. The solutions we can provide, support at a time when it is most needed. It makes a massive difference in these women’s life and provides a path forward.
I am committed to eradicating domestic violence in our generation and want to invite other men to do the same, this is my motivation to being a part of The Haven.
Neena, Board Member
I am deeply passionate about the role women play in society, and the challenges that we face throughout our lives. It’s important to me to be part of this journey that provides safety, security and a brighter future to women and children in need. I come from the corporate world and bring a wealth of experience in complex project planning and execution.
Mike, Board Member
I have two daughters, which has given me a different perspective on life. Things I never had to worry about or consider like domestic violence are things I am now much more aware of. I find comfort that should my girls require help, services like The Haven will be around.
I believe that my business background in WHS, Risk and Project Management combined with owning and operating 4 childcare services allows me to contribute in both a practical sense of starting up The Haven and assisting with the management of The Haven at a board level.
Annabelle, CEO WCS
As CEO of Women’s Community Shelters (WCS), I have worked with local communities around NSW to establish and open five shelters in Sydney. I have worked with a range of organisations, individuals and community stakeholders and all levels of government to achieve change in the field of homelessness for women. I have been a family support and operations professional for 20 years, working in private enterprise, Federal government, and the community sector. I have held a leadership position in the Department of Human Services, overseeing a child support program and been the Manager of Elsie, Australia’s longest-established women’s shelter, providing services and support to women and children experiencing homelessness and escaping domestic violence.
I am passionate about establishing more shelters throughout NSW and am already working with half a dozen communities to expand the WCS model.