Category Archives: Sector News

Second Order of Australia Honour For Women’s Community Shelters

Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) is delighted to celebrate one of our WCS family, Ms Yvonne Keane, who has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Awards – January 25, 2021.

Ms Keane was one of the founders and the inaugural Chair of The Sanctuary – Hills Women’s Shelter, a role she has held since 2015. Ms Keane was instrumental in leading the establishment of the organisation, working alongside the Steering Committee and WCS. Her deep involvement with her local community brought significant support and partnerships to the fledgeling organisation, and put The Sanctuary on a path to being a flagship shelter in the WCS network, changing lives for women and children escaping homelessness and domestic and family violence, including those with disabilities.

The Sanctuary – Hills Women’s Shelter is the fourth shelter to be founded and opened by Women’s Community Shelters, an Australian charity that works directly with local communities to set up crisis accommodation for women and children in need. CEO of Women’s Community Shelters, Ms Annabelle Daniel, OAM said she could not think of a more deserving recipient than Ms Keane.  “I have known Yvonne since 2015 when we worked together to open The Sanctuary – Hills Women’s Shelter. I am absolutely delighted that she has been recognised for this award and super proud to call her my friend.”

“As a survivor herself, Yvonne has firsthand experience and has used this to fuel practical action to assist others. The Sanctuary is one of many charities Ms Keane has established, and her track record for improving the lives of women and children in extraordinary.” – Annabelle Daniel, OAM

Speaking about her role at The Sanctuary, Ms Keane said: “I am a passionate advocate for initiatives that address the circumstances and issues surrounding domestic violence. As a child of domestic violence, one of the most meaningful things I have had the privilege to be involved with is The Sanctuary. The awe-inspiring quality of the life-changing work that takes place within The Sanctuary is evidenced best by the exceptional outcomes we have achieved. In 2019, the shelter provided over 5,000 bed nights to the sector and assisted 89 women and children with essential and lifesaving services. This is what makes me truly proud!”

Currently the CEO of ReImagine Australia and the Deputy Chair of the Endeavour Foundation, Ms Keane was formerly the Mayor of the Hills Shire Council. An award-winning TV Producer/Presenter, Magazine Columnist, Ms Keane is also the founder of SugarBaby Cosmetics and Hear the Children Early Intervention Centre.

This is not the first time Ms Keane’s work has been recognised. She has received several accolades including 2012 NSW Woman of the Year (People’s Choice), United Nations IYV+10 Volunteer of the Year (Education), 2016 NSW Local Government Woman of the Year, and the 2019 Third Sector Influencer of the Year.

Women’s Community Shelters is currently working with two new local communities to expand its shelter network to nine and increase the number of bed nights available to women and children in need.

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The hidden red flag of domestic violence

Photography: Damian Bennett; Styling: Kelly Hume; Hair: Richard Kavanagh; Make-up: Naomi McFadden.Source:BodyAndSoul

“While it’s now widely acknowledged that domestic and family violence that manifests in a physical form is abhorrent, and comes with legal ramifications in keeping with its capacity to destroy lives, our understanding of a less obvious form of abuse is yet to catch up. I’m speaking of financial abuse – a sinister and potentially lethal means by which a person seeks to control their partner in an insidious and often dangerous way.

To help shine a light on this frequently misunderstood form of domestic abuse, Body+Soul is uncovering the heart-wrenching stories of Australians who have been directly affected by this – and to share their tales of survival as well as impart practical advice to help others.” – Sarrah Le Marquand, editor-in-chief Body+Soul and StellarFull Story >>>

More from this very special issue:

Always consider your personal circumstances before acting on financial advice. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency or if you’re not feeling safe, always call 000.

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New Housing Collaboration Welcomes Two New Partners and Provides Secure Housing for 20 Homeless Women

A unique new housing initiative has been developed which will provide safe and secure housing for 18 women over 55 years of age who are experiencing housing insecurity, through the refurbishment of a former private hospital in Mosman.

Mosman House is the second collaboration between local charity, Women’s Community Shelters (WCS), community housing provider Link Housing and Twilight Aged Care who have provided the facility rent free as holistic housing and support, for two years.

Read More —->


Chores for a Cause

Today, Women’s Community Shelters are launching a new, innovative fund-raising campaign. A pioneering program building young people’s awareness of gender inequality and domestic violence and women’s homelessness, Chores for a Cause empowers young people aged 8-18 to support the women and children in need in their community by completing chores in exchange for money they can then donate to the shelter of their choice.

Support your local shelter – and sweep aside traditional views about who does what chores at home.

WCS would be thrilled if kids could raise up to $25.  Why not more? This isn’t just about a few young people doing the heavy lifting and raising lots of money. This is an opportunity for everyone to feel they can pitch in and do their little bit too. Because solving domestic and family violence and homelessness needs everyone to care and contribute.

The program launches September 1 – just in time for spring cleaning!

WCS CEO, Annabelle Daniel OAM says; “Domestic and family violence is a chronic and ongoing social problem that spikes during times of widespread disaster and stress. Charities are often the very first responders to the vulnerable, the isolated and the homeless who are at particular risk right now during this pandemic. We have seen significant numbers of potential fundraising events planned for WCS and our shelter network cancelled for the foreseeable future. Innovative, positive campaigns like this one have the potential to not only help our sector raise much needed funds, but to provide a sense of hope.”  

This initiative offers a powerful opportunity to start some really important, age-appropriate conversations in our homes and schools around chore equity.

Our Education Officer, Dannielle Miller explains why this is not only brilliant for our shelters, but for the kids who roll up their sleeves and support the initiative too: “This initiative offers a powerful opportunity to start some really important, age-appropriate conversations in our homes and schools around chore equity (what sort of chores do families need to do, and how often does each family member usually spend on these?), gender stereotyping (there’s no such thing as girls’ work and boys’ work – we can all do all the things!) and respectful relationships (every member of a family should feel safe and respected). The research also clearly shows that meaningful fund-raising opportunities like this one are just what our young people need right now. During times of uncertainty, altruistic acts boost our morale, foster a sense of connection, and give us back a sense of control.”