Women's Groups 2013 - Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)

Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)

Purpose of the group

The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA) (WCDFVS) was originally known as the Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG). The WRG was established to provide a coordinated and unified voice for women’s refuge services across WA and to advocate on behalf of women and children escaping violence in the family home.

The WCDFVS is a statewide peak organisation that currently represents 64 women’s refuges and domestic and family violence services in WA (http://www.womenscouncil.com.au/about-us.html).

Time period

The WRG was established in 1977. In 1979, the group received some funding for child support workers in refuges but staff were otherwise voluntary at the time. In 1986, the WRG became incorporated and, in 1989, it received some funding from the Department for Community Services—enough for one paid worker.

Funding increased in 1992, which allowed the group to have a staffed office. After the 2000 State election, the WRG received a further increase in government funding and, in 2001, received Lotterywest funding for regional and rural consultations. In 2004, the Women’s Refuge Group changed its name to the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA) and is still operating.

Key achievements

  • First edition of the WRG newsletter was launched in February 1995.
  • In 1999, a two-day statewide conference was organised in conjunction with the Domestic Violence Council of WA.
  • From 2000 onwards, the WRG has organised the annual silent Domestic Violence Memorial March.
  • A kit was developed in 2001 to educate and inform people about family and domestic violence.
  • An international conference was held in Mandurah in 2002 to mark the 25th anniversary of the WRG. The WRG partnered with the Multicultural Women’s Advocacy Service and Centre for Research for Women to identify the needs of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in families that accessed the service.
  • WCDFVS played a key role in the More Than A Bed campaign, which successfully sought an increase in funding for the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program.
  • The WCDFVS continues to operate a wide range of projects and services including Safe At Home, Hurt, the Domestic Violence Outreach Program, Keeping Kids Safe, Safety and Security for Women and Speak Out.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Norah Hosken was the Women’s Refuge Group of WA’s first paid employee in 1989.
  • Executive officers and staff have included Lois Gatley, Tracey Summerfield, Nadine Wilton, Janet Pettigrew, Angela Hartwig, Annie Farrell, Lineke Wiebrands, Teresa Szunekjo, Fay Sambo, Violet Pickett, Nicole Leggett, Chelsea McKinney, Sarah Newbold, Ailaoa Aoina, Lisa Palmer, Bernie Sermon, Annemarie Hindinger, Janette Richardson, Abbey Stowell, Annika Lofgren and Priscilla Masters.
  • Committee members and chairs include Aggie Quinsee, Anne Moore, Arina Aoina, Cathy Szmathany, Chelsea McKinney, Domique Taylor, Daphne Smith, Deb Dearnley, Diane Barnes, Fauziah Varusay, Fran Lane, Gabrielle Whiteley, Gloria Walley, Jacinta Anthony, Janice Gottsch, Joan Taylor, Joanne Spark, Kate Davis, Kedy Kristal, Kirsti Kilbane, Krystal Obschonka, Laurel Pearce, Lea Anderson, Lisa Delfante, Lorraine Johnston, Lineke Wiebrands, Lorena Rose, Lyn Noble, Lynne Flanagan, Lynda Digby, Mary White, Paula Karydis, Ratna Knights, Robyn Martin, Robin Shine, Ruth Marshall, Sister Jane Ablett, Tacoel Al-Manro, Trish McGowan, Valda Carrington and Vivienne Pillay.


  • Herstory: Celebrating 30 years. 2007. Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA). Perth: WCDFVS (WA).
  • Urquhart, Jean. 2001. Seeking Refuge. Perth woman, spring 2001, p. 94–96, 015.9411 PER, b20342846.

Article Index
Women's Groups 2013
Abortion Law Repeal Association/Association for the Legal Right to Abortion (ALRA)
American Women's Club of Perth (AWC)
Association of Civilian Widows of WA Inc
Australian College of Midwives WA Branch (ACM)
Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA)
Beta Sigma Phi
Business and Professional Women Western Australia (BPW)
Catholic Women’s League of Western Australia (Inc)
Chrysalis House Women's Refuge
Cine-Matrix: Women in Film and Television WA
Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp
Combined Equal Pay Committee/WA Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity
Community Midwifery WA
Country Women’s Association (CWA)
Domestic Violence Action Group (Geraldton)
Emily’s List
Equal Opportunity Law Reform Coalition
Fremantle Women’s Health Centre (FWHC)
Girl Guides WA
Graduate Women Western Australia (GWWA)/Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW) Western Australia
Grapevine/Perth Wimmin’s Collective
Gretel Club of Perth (Inc)
Harvest Guild
Incest Survivors Association (Inc.)
Inner Wheel Australia
Inside Out Project
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre
Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Karrakatta Club
Labor Women’s Association
Lespar Library
Living Child Inc.—Safe Village Births
Lutheran Women WA
Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre
Mining Mums
Modern Women's Club
Mothers’ Union Australia
Movement for the Ordination of Women
Muslim Women’s Support Centre of WA (Inc)
National Council of Women of Western Australia (previously known as West Australian National Council of Women and Western Australian National Council of Women)
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia—WA section (NCJWA)
Nintirri Centre
Older Women’s Network (OWN WA)
Penguin Club
Perth Ionian Club
Polyhymnia Reading Group
Rape Crisis Line
Rural Remote Regional Women’s Network (RRR)
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
Sibyl/University of Western Australia Student Guild Women’s Collective
Society of Women Writers WA
Soroptimist International of Western Australia
Starick Services Inc
Status of Women Committee WA—Australian Labor Party
Tradeswomen on the Move
UN Women Australia (formerly UNIFEM Australia)—Perth Chapter Young UN Women Perth Chapter
Union of Australian Women—WA Branch
V.I.E.W. Western Australia
West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts
War Widows’ Guild
Warrawee Women’s Refuge
Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL)
West Australian Housewives’ Association (Inc)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women in Media
Women’s Information Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Western Australia
Women in Education Coalition
Women in Mining WA (WIMWA)
Women in Sailing (WIS)
Women in Sport Committee of the Western Australian Sports Council
Women in Technology WA (Inc) (WiTWA)
Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc) (WLWA)
Women with Disabilities WA Inc (WWDWA)
Women’s Action Alliance (WAA)
Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)
Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative
Women’s Committee of State School Teachers’ Union WA Executive
Women's Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation
Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)
Women’s Health and Family Services/Women’s Health Care House/Perth Women’s Centre/Women’s Health Service
Women’s Information Service (WIS)
Women’s Interest Network
Women in Engineering WA (WIE WA)
Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO)
Women’s Liberation
Women’s Service Guilds
Women’s Studies Group
Yanay Yanma
YWCA of Perth
Zonta International
Additional Groups
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