Who We Are
Lismore Women and Children’s Refuge has been operating in the Lismore Area for over thirty years. The service is Federally funded through the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) and auspiced by Northern Rivers Women and Children’s Services Inc (NORWACS).
Lismore Women & Children’s Refuge is committed to the empowerment of women and provides women and children who have been living with domestic abuse and sexual assault a safe and supportive environment where they can consider their options and make informed choices.
Lismore Women and Children’s Refuge was formally known as the Richmond Women's Emergency Centre and was officially opened on 9th June, 1979 by Mrs. Jill Wran.
The Richmond Women's Emergency Centre evolved from a meeting of Womanspeak at the Lismore Community Health Centre, following discussion of a survey of domestic assault carried out in the area in 1975 by two social work students. The meeting was called on 23 July 1977 and from the twelve women who attended, members were delegated to investigate the "problem of Women in Crisis" in particular areas.
By May 1978, the Richmond Women's Emergency Centre had secured $16,460 from state and federal governments for operational costs, and had rented a house at 16 Victoria St, Lismore to use as an emergency accommodation and referral centre.
In October 1979, extra federal funds were made available nation-wide for the employment of two part-time childcare workers, after a study revealed the critical need for organized child care in women's refuges.
In September 1980, Lismore City Council supported a move to relocate the 'secondary centre" into the former South Lismore police station in Casino Street. This house later became an 'exit house' for out-going families requiring further short-term accommodation.
Later that year, a capital grant of $50,000 made by the then Department of Youth and Community Services enabled members of the Management Committee to begin looking for a house to purchase.
In October 1981, the Richmond Women’s Emergency Centre became a company under corporation law and the name they chose was Lismore Women’s Refuge Ltd. They then negotiated the purchase of a house in Lismore to establish a permanent refuge. The council received 17 objections and a petition of 23 signatures voicing opposition to the refuge relocation. This did not deter the Committee from continuing with negotiations.
In 1989, an additional property was purchased by Department of Housing and a contract entered into with the Department as co-owners with Lismore Women's and Children's Refuge.
The Lismore Women’s Refuge was required to become incorporated as an association (as were all community-based organizations) so in April 1992, it became incorporated as Lismore Women's and Children's Refuge Inc.
In 1999 the Collective commissioned, in conjunction with DOCS, a review of the refuge structure and assessment of service delivery. A major recommendation was to restructure as a Management Committee and employ a manager who would then oversee the implementation of a restructure. As a result, all staff positions were advertised and a new complement of staff began employment in January 2001.
Lismore Women and Children’s Refuge holds a feminist analysis of violence against women. Our philosophy therefore holds these essential tenets: