A refuge for women and children
About Mary’s House
North Sydney Women’s Benevolent Association, trading as Mary’s House, is a newly-established, not-for-profit organisation which provides crisis accommodation for five women and their dependent children escaping domestic violence (maximum 19 people). It is an independently operated, non-Government facility. Mary’s House is located on Sydney’s North Shore and is a non-denominational initiative. A goal of Mary’s House is to partner with other community groups while remaining committed to the principle “in all things to love and serve”.
How is Mary’s House achieving its goals?
Mary’s House has acquired the use of a property as a hostel at a subsidised rental. It is staffed by a full-time professional manager (qualified social worker) and a part-time case worker. A fully-qualified social worker assesses eligibility for accommodation. Mary’s House is supported by community volunteers who are providing other services, both to the Hostel and to individual residents. This model offers flexibility and time to deliver a personalised, caring level of service.
How is Mary’s House funded?
Mary's House has been able to complete the modifications of the property for use as a secure and comfortable temporary home for its residents at an all up cost of less than $500,000. It has been able to do this by generous donations and 'in kind' support from individuals and organisations (including a one-off $20,000 grant from the Commonwealth Government). As no recurrent government funding is available, Mary's House has a continuing need to find approximately $350,000 per annum to cover operating costs. Community help to date has been sufficient to enable it to open with reasonable confidence about long term viability, but ongoing fundraising will always be an important task.
What is Lenity Australia’s involvement?
Lenity Australia’s ongoing support will fund, for the next three years, the “Mary’s House Housing Transition Project”. This project funds a Housing Transition worker who can provide expert support in assisting residents find suitable and sustainable transitional housing, allowing women to stay independent from their abusive partners.
In Australia, domestic family and sexual violence is found across all cultures, ages and socio-economic groups.
According to Bureau of Crime Statistics & Research there were 466 domestic violence related assaults in 2014 in the lower Northern Sydney area. One police figure estimates incidents are 10 times higher than reported.
The social and economic costs of violence against women are considerable. In 2009 the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (NCRVWC) estimated that violence against women and their children, including both domestic and non-domestic violence, costs the Australian economy $13.6 billion.