The Women’s Support Program (WSP) has evolved into a model of service that is responsive to the needs of the women attending or being referred to Wellsprings . It aims to provide culturally responsive family violence services tailored to women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. On 19 April 2021, Wellsprings for Women became prescribed under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM). Wellsprings for women is one of very few agencies which support women who are experiencing family violence and remaining in the relationship. The support provided is offered for as long as the client needs it. The WSP also assists women impacted by homelessness, poverty, isolation and mental health.
Women come to Wellsprings to access a range of programs and services. They gradually develop trust and rapport with Wellsprings staff, and as they feel safe, they disclose personal information about their circumstances which include among other factors, family violence. WSP is therefore embedded across all our programs. It is underpinned by human rights and informed by the following principles:
Following identification of family violence by a participant at Wellsprings, an internal referral is made to the WSP. The service model that ensues is illustrated as follows:
Engagement with a client who has either been (internally or externally) referred to WSP or disclosed directly to Wellsprings staff
Wellsprings Intake worker conducts a risk assessment using the MARAM risk assessment tool
A safety plan is developed that involves the woman looking at her unique situation and assesses what she might need to help her feel safe. It incorporates practical strategies for improving the woman’ s home and personal security and allows the woman to put steps in place to help keep her and her children safe.
Following intake and assessment, the client is allocated a case worker to provide ongoing support to her to resolve and address the multiple issues she faces and until such time as she is able to move forward independently.
Social and Emotional Support
The WSP provides emotional support to women experiencing family violence. This may involve: contacting victim-survivors to listen to regularly with respect, empathise without judgement, review safety measures, offer ongoing support and connections with other programs and services based on needs.
Information and Learning
The WSP works with women to raise their awareness about their rights, inform them of the options they have, the programs they can access to build their confidence, skills and capabilities, and to minimise the barriers they face which impact on their decisions to stay or leave. The Women Support Team (WST) informs the women of the range of programs offered at Wellsprings as well as elsewhere which can assist them to move forward and gain more control over their lives.
Support Process and External Referral
The WSP refers women to other services they require and continues to support them while they access other services. The services would include; legal, migration advice, mental health support, housing support, or family violence specialised services.
Practical and Material Aid Support
Following assessment of women’s needs and circumstances, the WST provides assistance with material aid, emergency relief and other practical supports such as assisting women with attending appointments , communicating with other services, and/or applying for government funded services.
In 2020 Think Impact undertook a research into the Social Return on Investment generated from the WSP. They found that $7.9 million of social value was created as a result of activities delivered by the Women’s Support Team.
For every $1 invested in 2020 in the WSP, between $8.81 and $12.52 of social and economic value was created
“It has been the first time I have ever felt supported and cared for and heard thank you” – Client
“Thank you, you give me hope, encouraging me to deal with my life, it is better that there is someone there to have my back.” – Client
“I have one client who has never been able to talk about her experience because of fear of leaving the relationship, but just being able to contact her at a time that suits her is helpful”– Program staff