When the Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre opened over 40 years ago it was the 4th refuge in NSW at the time.
Some background about Bringa is;
- “The early (feminist) refuges were established wherever a building could be located at no or little cost.”
- BRINGA WOMEN’S REFUGE was “founded in 1975 by a group of women in the area headed by a worker from Social Security (now Centrelink). Over 100 women, many representatives from women’s groups, attended a meeting on 13 November 1974 at which the Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre association was formed.”
- The aim of BRINGA WOMEN’S REFUGE was ”to assist women and children in and out of crisis and hopefully help women to become more aware of themselves and their potential”.
(Note: Crisis was domestic violence)
- The space was a 4 bedroom house with office space below. They rented the house next door for childcare / playgroups. They also operated as a resource centre for “any woman”.
- They had 11 workers including day workers, night workers and childcare workers. They were managed by a board of 5 people. Over time they employed some ex-residents to work at the refuge.
- Family Support Services were added in the late 80s based at Bringa to provide parenting support. This service is funded by the NSW Department of Family & Community Services.
- In 2014, the NSW government consolidated funding and the refuge service of MWWRC is now funded via Mission Australia. Delvena Refuge (on the Lower North Shore) also came under the MWWRC organisation as part of this funding restructure.
The refuge based in Dee Why has a colourful history in the women’s refuge movement in NSW and supporters were excited to celebrate their birthday at Long Reef Golf Club.
Find out more about the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement visit this page here and find out how Bringa was the first refuge to start an informal Court Assistance Scheme.
The WRM (Women’s Refuge Movement) was represented on the first committee to propose assistance for women at courts, along with the Redfern Legal Centre.
The Court Assistance Scheme, founded in 1990 is the direct result of this committee’s lobbying on this issue.
Barbara Kilpatrick OAM represented the WRM by providing input into every amendment of the AVO legislation that has occurred over the years.
In 1985 Barbara Kilpatrick OAM lectured at the Goulburn Police Academy and other refuges were subsequently approached to speak to various other branches of the police services in their areas, on the importance of Police response times to reports of DV.
“The community have supported this refuge for so many years and we want to acknowledge that without the support of the community, our work with the women and children escaping domestic violence would be almost impossible. Now we want the community to come celebrate with us and find out what we do as we have been quiet achievers for so long” said Ms Stewart, (past CEO Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre).
On the 40th anniversary night there was an oral history presentation, the launch of a new website and acknowledgement that the new Barbara Kilpatrick Wing is now operational and in use by clients.
“Bringa Women’s Refuge opened in 1976 and has been reconfigured from the old boarding house model into self-contained studio apartments – underpinned by a trauma-informed approach, that allows families in crisis to feel safe in their own space,” Ms Stewart said.
In addition, the new annexe was built to provide for an additional two families, named The Barbara Kilpatrick Wing to honour the memory of one of the pioneers of Bringa Women’s Refuge.
Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre provides a range of services and programs to support women and children escaping domestic violence at Delvena in Lane Cove and Bringa in Dee Why, and includes the Northern Beaches Family Support Service to assist families needing support.
Due to efforts of one of its CEO’s in the 1970’s, Barbara Kilpatrick OAM worked on the NSW Premier’s Department committee for new domestic violence legislation.
In 1985 Barbara started lecturing at the Goulburn Police Academy and other refuges were subsequently approached to speak to various other branches of the police services on the importance of Police response times to reports of DV.
To listen to Barbara Kilpatrick OAM talk about her days in the centre, here is a International Women’s Day talk in 2009 given by Barbara: listen to this podcast
In 1987 the centre started an informal Court Assistance Scheme which assisted women at court hearings.
This became the Court Assistance Scheme in 1990 that is still in use today and known as The Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program.
This significant anniversary was recently acknowledged by Jason Falinski, Member for Mackellar as seen in the video below.
Delvena Women & Children’s Refuge
Delvena was part of the 11 refuges run by Domestic Violence NSW Service Management. During the Going Home Staying Home reforms in 2014 Delvena was tendered out to the Manly Warringah Women’s Resource Centre as an additional refuge,coming under their umbrella.
In 2013/14 Delvena housed 51 women and 65 children.
In their last annual report the service achievements included: