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About Us

Kara House is a specialist family violence service providing safe and secure accommodation and outreach services to women and children escaping family violence. We encourage and empower women to take control of their lives and work towards making strategies to create a better future.

About Kara House

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311 women and 187children each year

We provided advice, emotional support, secure accomodation and safety planning

46 different cultural backgrounds

We provide services to clients who come from 46 linguistic and cultural backgrounds

89% have experienced violence before

Up to 89% of our clients have experienced some form of family violence previously in their life

76% disclosed previous mental illness

Last year 76% of our clients disclosed a previous mental illness including depression and anxiety

92% of our clients supported in court

92% of our refuge clients are supported in court whilst applying for an Intervention Order

53% increase in LGBTI+ clients supported

We have Specialist Family Violence Practitioners with LGBTI+ training who provide advice and support

Operating for 42 years, Kara House is a non-for-profit organisation primarily funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. Further fundraising and grants help support additional educational programs, well-being activities and improvements to the refuge.

  • We believe in the rights of women and children to live free of violence and we provide highly secure accommodation which prioritises their safety
     
  • We offer a range of programs and services including risk assessment, case management, outreach support, children’s programs, advocacy and client education
     
  • We have a specialist understanding of the complexities of family violence which helps our clients make informed choices to improve their long term outcomes
     
  • We challenge service providers, government and the community to adopt responses that do not tolerate violence to women and children

Our history

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  • The Italian welfare organisation Co.As.It (Comitato Assistenza Italiana) creates a place for women to reside in response to the existence of violence in Italian families. The house, located in Carlton, was self-funded by Co.As.It and the Italian community
  • Government support is introduced in Victoria for refuges and Co.As.It is one of the first to receive funding. This enables Co.As.It. to establish a permanent refuge
  • After lengthy discussions, Co.As.It relinquishes responsibility to a new body to be run solely for women
  • The organisation purchases a permanent location which still houses the refuge to today
  • The women’s refuge becomes an Incorporated Association known as Kara House
  • Kara House, in response to community need, establishes a Domestic Violence Outreach program to provide information and support
  • Kara House expands its Domestic Violence Outreach program to meet the needs of lesbian/same sex attracted women
  • Kara House receives funding from the department of Human Services to provide a program called A Place to Call Home
  • Kara House moves office to larger premises with better facilities, sharing with another family violence service
  • Kara House expands its Family Violence Outreach Program to include the entire LGBTI community
  • Kara House takes a larger role in the Motel Outreach Program, supporting up to 300 women and their children a year
  • Kara House introduces the Family Violence Support Group which provides ongoing support for women who have experienced family violence in the wider community
  • In October Kara House celebrates 40 years of empowering and supporting women and children escaping family violence
  • In January we expanded our education program by introducing "Art and Wellbeing" for the clients in refuge.
  • In March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic we successfully changed the way we worked enabling Kara House to remain open for the entire year.
  • In November Kara House was made the Victorian partner of Say It Out Loud. Our role is to update share information about LGTBIQ domestic and family violence
  • In March Kara House announces the build of a second refuge due for complettion in October

Our vision

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Our mission

Kara House supports the rights of women and children to live in safety and without fear of violence from family members.

Our vision

To provide support to women, their children and/or significant others impacted by family violence in Victoria. We do this by:

  • Advocating on behalf of our diverse client base and family violence sector
  • Being responsive and adaptable in service delivery
  • Actively collaborating for a sustainable future

Our values

  • Respect and acceptance
  • Working together as a team
  • Unconditional positive regard
  • Empowerment of women
  • Environment for growth and learning
  • Flexibility
  • Diversity
  • Access and equality
  • Continuous improvement

Our industry partners

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Department of Families, Fairness and Housing

We would like to thank the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing who provide our operational funding under the Funding and Service Agreement and to the staff in the Eastern Region who have assisted with their donation collections and ongoing sup


We’d like to thank the organisations and services listed below who we partner with to provide services.

Board

Kara House is an Incorporated Association governed by a Board with an executive elected by its Members.

The Kara House Board is comprised of knowledgeable women with extensive experience in business related disciplines such as Financial Services, Legal, IT, Human Resources, Fundraising and Marketing. Members also have direct knowledge of the family violence and homelessness sector.

Kara House Board has responsibility under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 and the Kara House constitution to provide leadership, set the strategic direction of the organisation and monitor the finances and activities. The Board has overall responsibility to ensure Kara House is accountable, complies with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, and supports its vision, purpose and aims. Our Board members are all volunteers that give of their time and expertise.

Kara House Board

Chair Catherine Lockstone
Secretary Shelley Tung
Treasurer Leanne Conrad
Vice Chair Maureen Breen
Member Susan Smith
Dr Angela Spinney
Dr Ilsa Evans
Ciara Boyd
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Learn more about Kara House through our Annual Reports

Interested in joining the Kara House Board?

Kara House is governed by a Board of capable and professional women and welcomes applications from women who can add to our skill base. If you are interested in joining the Kara House Board, please email your expression of interest to the Manager at admin@karahouse.org.au

Working to ensure Quality Improvement

Kara House is constantly looking at our policies and procedures, risk management processes, client service delivery and human resources for ways of improving.

Accreditation

Kara House successfully underwent external Accreditation in March 2018 meeting all requirements. Accreditors from Quality Innovation Performance (QIP) assessed Kara House against the Quality Improvement Council standards (QIC) and the Department of Health and Human Service standards (DHSS). Kara House is now an Accredited organisation through to 2021. The Management and staff of Kara House are committed to continuous improvement and we are proud to have achieved Accreditation and to have received positive feedback.

qip


Our leadership - Board

Kara House is an Incorporated Association governed by a Board with an executive elected by its Members.

The Kara House Board is comprised of knowledgeable women with extensive experience in business related disciplines such as Financial Services, Legal, IT, Human Resources, Fundraising and Marketing. Members also have direct knowledge of the family violence and homelessness sector.

Kara House Board has responsibility under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 and the Kara House constitution to provide leadership, set the strategic direction of the organisation and monitor the finances and activities. The Board has overall responsibility to ensure Kara House is accountable, complies with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, and supports its vision, purpose and aims. Our Board members are all volunteers that give of their time and expertise.

Kara House Board

Chair Catherine Lockstone
Secretary Shelley Tung
Treasurer Leanne Conrad
Vice Chair Maureen Breen
Member Susan Smith
Dr Angela Spinney
Dr Ilsa Evans
Ciara Boyd
Image

Learn more about Kara House through our Annual Reports

Interested in joining the Kara House Board?

Kara House is governed by a Board of capable and professional women and welcomes applications from women who can add to our skill base. If you are interested in joining the Kara House Board, please email your expression of interest to the Manager at admin@karahouse.org.au

Working to ensure Quality Improvement

Kara House is constantly looking at our policies and procedures, risk management processes, client service delivery and human resources for ways of improving.

Accreditation

Kara House successfully underwent external Accreditation in March 2018 meeting all requirements. Accreditors from Quality Innovation Performance (QIP) assessed Kara House against the Quality Improvement Council standards (QIC) and the Department of Health and Human Service standards (DHSS). Kara House is now an Accredited organisation through to 2021. The Management and staff of Kara House are committed to continuous improvement and we are proud to have achieved Accreditation and to have received positive feedback.

qip