Denis Joins The Justice 'Warriors'

Denis Moriarty calls the Sisters of Mercy ‘rock solid progressives and social justice warriors’ and they haven’t let him down – establishing services for women who are homeless or fleeing family violence. That’s one of the reasons he joined the Board and is now the Chair.

Denis, who is Group Managing Director and founder of Our Community, said McAuley Community Services for Women made a valuable contribution to the sector and it was this approach that persuaded him to become involved.

“The organisation has a progressive, systemic and highly effective pathway for women and children to escape family violence and homelessness,” he said.

McAuley Community Services for Women provides a range of services for women who are homeless because of family violence or mental illness. McAuley House  provides medium term accommodation to women. In 2013/14 93 women were supported - all were homeless, 30% had experienced family violence and 73% had a mental health diagnosis.

“As a board member you are removed from the day to day workings of an organisation and somehow you have to try and get a sense of the heart of the organisation.Each board meeting we start our meetings with a reflection and that normally consists of a staff member, volunteer or consumer giving a presentation on one of our values and how that is translated into practice - I find them inspiring, heartbreaking and always authentic,” Denis said.

Denis said the increased recognition of how family violence leads to homelessness has influenced McAuley Community Service for Women’s expanded services for the women and children.In addition, the family violence service has dramatically expanded its impact through the adoption of Victoria’s only 24 hour seven day a week service for women and children.

It is the very women Denis works hard to support, who inspire him in his everyday life and work.

“In this role I have been associated with many amazing women.That ranges from the Sisters of Mercy themselves, who founded this service and who continue to support it so well, through to the many women I have met at our homeless service who say their lives are forever changed by the services we provide.Those women are an inspiration to me, as they have often undergone incredible adversities and are so humble but equally inspiring,” he said.