Frequently Asked Questions
Secondary and tertiary students and media outlets often contact NBWS looking for information to assist with their assignments and research for articles. We’ve answered some frequently asked questions below.
The power and importance of community is the founding principle of the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter. NBWS was created by the community and exists for the community. We are a registered charity, and operating for lifelong outcomes – for the betterment of others less fortunate – is a core value as well. We believe every woman has worth in her own right and deserves our society’s protection and care as she strives to make her way through life’s challenges.
NBWS recognises that there is often a number of intersecting causes of a woman’s homelessness. In a majority of cases, long-term trauma underlies the presenting cause. We’re committed to supporting women through the four main reasons for presentation at the Shelter, which are the central crises of our society: domestic violence; drug and alcohol abuse; mental illness and financial hardship.
To shelter and support homeless women, equipping them with temporary and/or transition housing as well as the therapeutic, clinical and practical tools they need to regain their independence and well-being.
We also work to raise awareness about female homelessness and the issues behind its alarming growth rate, across the Northern Beaches specifically and Australia generally.
Harnessing the extraordinary goodwill, energy, generosity and skills of our local community for the benefit of our residents, and to secure the operation’s future, is a primary goal as well.
We strive to be recognised as a flagship example of community engagement, grassroots change, specialist service delivery and human empathy that produces outstanding, permanent outcomes for its clients.
Yes, absolutely. We believe that each woman has the right to self-determine and reclaim her future, that she has the right to education and training, plus access to health and social services. We recognise the terrible impact of domestic violence on women and know this to be overwhelmingly a gendered issue at well over 90% of perpetrators being male.
We believe social messaging around women’s bodies and behaviour remains damaging and sexist. There are long-term, pervasive injustices in financial terms too, and we believe in the need to agitate for change and equality: the gender pay gap, absences from work for child-bearing years and the paucity of women on boards all put women at a distinct financial disadvantage, not just for advancement and for their capacity to sustain themselves and their families, but in terms of their superannuation potential.
The establishment and operation of the Shelter is itself a material, eloquent expression of a non-legal response to multiple social justice issues. The funding of NBWS began with community activism. We continue to operate thanks to private philanthropy and the profound assistance of volunteers, including all of our Board members and President.
Management also volunteer untold hours beyond what they’re paid for, galvanised by our collective commitment to and passion for finding social justice for all.
We ensure we have a presence at days that raise awareness of the core issues driving female homelessness, including White Ribbon Day, International Women’s Day and more, and we make appearances at schools and clubs to speak about these issues to our community. We also welcome guest speakers to our fundraiser events, including 2015 Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.
We are also a sister shelter partner within the Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) network. Under CEO Annabelle Daniel, WCS makes representations to government and other peak bodies about the reality of female homelessness and the need for our service and others.
We actively participate in social media (FB: @NBWomensShelter; Twitter: @NBWS_org; Instagram: nbws_org and LinkedIn: @nbws) to share articles, engage in public debate and share our expertise with the community.
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Homelessness is not having a safe, affordable home to sleep or live in. Unfortunately, this is the reality for one in every 200 Australians.
Homeless women lack personal security and privacy. They usually lack control over their environment and control over their lives, because they’re dependent on others to provide accommodation. They often lack connectedness with family, friends and the community. And they’re frequently discriminated against. Have you ever tried applying for a job or bank account without a fixed home address?