McAuley expands its capacity to support women and children
McAuley Community Services for Women (McAuley) has recently purchased a new site, with the support of the Sisters of Mercy. This former aged care site will accommodate McAuley’s seven crisis units (with 24×7 support) for shorter term stays and eight new medium term units. Providing a total of 37 beds for women and children, the expansion takes the legacy of Catherine McAuley into a new era/phase enabling us to build another community where women and children can be safe, secure and free of violence.
Jocelyn Bignold OAM, CEO of McAuley, said, “This is an exciting opportunity to take the Footscray concept into a new space and recreate a safe place, build a new community and wrap support around women and children at a critical time in their lives”.
“We know there is a huge demand for services such as this, with Victoria now using over 100 motel rooms per night to accommodate women and children fleeing a violent episode. This facility will ensure women and children are well supported from the moment they arrive so that they have time to rest and take the time needed to make decisions for their future.”
Refurbishment of the property will begin in September, with women and children being welcomed early in the new year. Surrounded by parkland, the design features will focus on providing quality accommodation that facilitates good health and wellbeing. All rooms will have ensuites and, where possible, kitchenettes, so that women are able to provide for their children. There will be a community kitchen, space for community activities as well as office facilities,
On a practical front, the refurbishment will ensure the building is fit for purpose and upgraded to reduce the need for ongoing maintenance.
On site wraparound services will be available to women and their children, including financial and legal case work, independent living skills and social connection opportunities, employment support, children specific support, such as a playroom with a specialist children’s worker. Through art, play and conversation, our workers can also address the child’s trauma as a result of family violence at the same time as their mother is being supported.
This new site forms just one part of our plan to expand appropriate accommodation options for women and children over the next few years.
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