The Catherine Circle Projects

The Catherine Circle, the McAuley Community Services for Women giving circle, was launched on June 23 2016. It was a great celebration to 'announce' the first projects funded by the Circle. Our CEO Jocelyn Bignold talked about how advocacy works, and Louise Doyle, CEO of the Besen Family Foundation,  launched the Circle and inspired those present when she spoke about the power of giving.

Two projects were put to the members to vote on: the first project was to help homeless women become financially independent through employment and the second was to assist women and children to be able to stay in their own homes and for that environment to be made safe for them. The winning project was safe@home, but thanks to the extraordinary generosity of one person in the room, the other project was also funded. We welcomed five new members, who were inspired by the collaborative notion of giving circles, and pay tribute to our foundation members. For those who want to know more about joining this remarkable initiative, head to our Catherine Circle page.

The Catherine Circles funded projects for 2016

Safe at Home

When is it Safe at Home for a woman who has been abused? That’s what we will find out through funding from The Catherine Circle members and The Besen Foundation.

 Many women, who have been abused by a partner, leave the home to keep themselves, and their children safe. The perpetrator, in most cases, remains in the home. About 250 women and 250 children come through the doors of McAuley Care Crisis service each year. When the women leave our safe house, or their own home, they can go to a refuge (6 - 12 weeks secure accommodation) or into private rental (high cost, potentially unsustainable).  In both cases women and children are forced to leave their homes, communities, schools, families and friends. This is a model that places responsibility on the victim - not the perpetrator. Read more.

McAuley Works Review

Women need an income to have a chance of rebuilding their lives after family violence. The Catherine Circle funding means we can go back to the women who were part of our employment program, find out what worked and how we can refine the program to achieve better employment outcomes for women.

Research has shown that in order for women to have a chance to successfully leave family violence behind them, there are several main things that must be achieved, including financial independence, which can come from being employed. Many women lose, or leave, their jobs because they are harassed at work by an abusive partner, need a lot of time off to recover from physical or mental abuse injuries or have difficulties coping in the workplace. Without an income they are trapped and have little way of establishing a new home if they leave. Read more.

Introducing some Catherine Circle Members

Claire Ewart-Kennedy’s support for women, particularly vulnerable women, has always been strong. More recently, tragic national events and the constant barrage of news about family violence, has inspired Claire and a group of her friends to up the ante. The women, 20 of them, have pooled resources to join the McAuley Community Services for Women’s Catherine Circle. Read more.

Nicole Turner meets a lot of women who have survived family violence. A psychologist, Nicole works with adults who suffer anxiety, depression or a trauma. Her work prompted her to become one of the pioneering Catherine Circle members in a bid to bring about significant change in service delivery for women and children escaping family violence. Read more.

Dr Tricia Eadie’s clinical and research work over several decades has confirmed that the impact of family violence and trauma on a child’s development can be profound, leading, in some cases, to poorer development and educational outcomes. But she is also committed to keeping women and children safe in their homes and it’s one reason she has joined McAuley Community Service for Women’s Catherine Circle. Read more.

 Find out more about The Catherine Circle and how to become involved.

Images from The Catherine Circle launch