The core business of Kara House is to provide safe and secure accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence. But it is more than this. Kara House support workers provide material aid to address immediate needs, emotional support, information about legal processes such as intervention orders, family court and child protection, safety planning, referral and liaison with other services. We also conduct children’s assessments to identify trauma and refer children to childcare, school, groups and counselling.
Kara House has relationships with housing managers such as Community Housing Limited and Salvo Care Housing to support clients living in transitional housing. Sometimes these are clients who have moved on from crisis accommodation and other times they are clients residing in transitional housing that require the assistance of a support service. Transitional housing support can continue for up to 5 years.
On average, every year Kara House has more than 35 children reside in our refuge.
When a child first enters crisis accommodation, the children’s worker conducts a Children’s Assessment as soon as possible, usually within the first two days. This assessment will explore what the child has experienced in terms of violence, which can range from being physically abused as well as hearing the violence from another room. The Children’s Assessment will also go into the attachment between the mother and the child and the physical, emotional and educational needs of the child. After this assessment is conducted, needs are clearly identified and referrals and linkages can be put in place.
Children are included as part of the mother’s case plan and their needs are routinely followed up. Kara House has good relationships with the local childcare centre’s, schools and Maternal and Child Health centres who will also observe the children closely and communicate any concerns over the children back to Kara House.
Kara House and Child Protection often work closely together conducting regular care team meetings with other services involved with children in order to build a positive future free from violence.
Kara House is fortunate to manage the A Place to Call Home program in the Eastern Region. A Place to Call Home provides intensive support to high needs families living in transitional housing. After a 12 month period the transitional housing becomes the families’ permanent public housing thereby avoiding the need for the family to move. Referrals to the program come from domestic violence services in the Eastern Region.
Kara House responds to direct contact from women and referral from other services to the needs of women in, or suffering the effects of abusive relationships. Support workers can provide court support, advice, information, advocacy and emotional support in the woman’s home, the Kara House office or a safe public place. Kara House also provides support to same sex attracted women.
Kara House in partnership with Women’s liberation Halfway House and the Safe Steps Family Violence Resource Centre provides timely material aid and emotional support to women and children accommodated in motels while waiting for placement in crisis accommodation. This service assists women and children at their most vulnerable time and provides invaluable face to face contact when a woman has made a life changing decision.
Kara House Management and support workers are pleased to give talks to community groups, educational institutions and other interested parties to promote the work of Kara House and educate the community about domestic violence. Kara House has strong partnerships with educational organisations, has on average at least 2 students on placement a year and believes that educating students is the greatest contribution we can make to the quality of workers entering the service system.
Kara House support workers are available to provide advice and information to other services who are working with clients who may be experiencing domestic violence. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate to provide an effective holistic service to clients.
Kara House support workers advocate for their individual clients, at court, for cultural support, when referring to other services, for housing and in a multitude of other direct and indirect ways. As an organisation Kara House comments on and participates in the area of broader community and societal education and change through our peak body and networks.