Governor of Victoria becomes inaugural Patron for McAuley Community Services for Women

McAuley Community Services for Women is honoured that the first female Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Linda Dessau AM, has agreed to be its inaugural Patron.

Denis Moriarty, Chair, said: “We are delighted that she has kindly accepted our invitation.”

“A former Children’s Court magistrate and Family Court judge, Ms Dessau is a leading advocate on family violence issues,” he said.

The patronage comes at a significant time for McAuley Community Services for Women, in our support to women and their children who are escaping family violence, and to women who are homeless.

Our organisation, which runs Victoria’s only accessible 24/7 safe house, is pioneering the State’s first Court Children’s Program. The program, funded through the Barr Family Foundation, was initiated because women with accompanying children were unable to complete intervention orders due to inappropriate childcare on the day of the court hearing.

The program assists women to successfully complete their family violence legal proceedings; minimise further trauma to children by offering them a safe and positive diversion; accompany children through the court process and monitor their safety and wellbeing.

Since beginning the program in August 2014, 389 children have engaged with the Court Children’s worker, with the majority of children aged between one and seven years, and up to 16 years.

“In another significant first, the organisation has begun building Victoria’s first purpose built accommodation for women who would otherwise be homeless,” said Mr Moriarty.

The site in Footscray will pioneer programs sensitive to women’s specific needs. These will include education and employment, health, social and recreation programs.

The building is an $11million investment funded with support from the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea and a remaining $4million to be funded by a willing government and supporters to end homelessness for women.