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Frequently Asked Questions

Main Content

Frequently Asked Questions

The Ruah Centre for Women & Children will be a place for women and children who have experienced family and domestic violence to rewrite the future. All your frequently asked questions are answered here.

What is the Ruah Centre for Women & Children?

Currently under construction in the Perth CBD, our state-of-the-art, seven-storey, purpose-built Centre has been carefully designed to provide sanctuary and deliver the right services, at the right time, to help women and their children create successful new futures free from family and domestic violence.

The Centre will deliver Ruah’s unique model of service delivery in a central, purpose-built building, to change the future for thousands of women and their children so they can heal, recover and thrive.

Construction of the Ruah Centre for Women & Children

The state-of-the-art building will be seven storeys high, providing space for service delivery and accommodation. Our approach to building the Centre has been informed by decades of sector experience and extensive consultation with lived-experience advocates, Aboriginal Elders and subject matter experts. The features and functional elements of the Centre itself have been designed in alignment with, and to reflect, Ruah’s model of service delivery – to ensure the building becomes a sanctuary for healing and support which will become the benchmark for our sector.

Ruah engaged architectural and design studio, Architectus, to ensure healing and recovery are infused in the building’s design, while respecting the architectural context and integrity of the surrounding area, and consulting with the community, government and a wide range of stakeholders.

What is the timeline for the opening of the new building?

Planning approval was granted in April 2022 by the City of Perth. In September, ADCO Construction was appointed as Ruah’s construction partner.

The construction of the new Centre has commenced and it is anticipated to be in operation by mid-2024.

Why do we need this Centre?

  • In WA, 65% of assaults recorded in 2020 were related to family and domestic violence (FDV), leaving Western Australia with one of the worst track records in the country.
  • One in three women over the age of fifteen has experienced physical violence, and one in five has experienced sexual violence.
  • Indigenous Australian women are 32 times more likely to be hospitalised due to FDV
  • Exposure to domestic and family violence from infancy to 10 years is associated with poorer health outcomes.
  • Family and domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for children in Australia.
  • Statistics show children are four to five times more likely to become stuck in an intergenerational cycle of violence.
  • Children who have experienced FDV are five times more likely to seek mental health support by the time they turn 18.
  • Overstretched support services and increased demand has forced Ruah to turn away over 600 women in the last financial year who sought safe refuge.
  • Currently there is no unified approach from government for wrap-around services to address the long-term effects of domestic violence.
  • FDV costs Australia $26 billion a year.

These shameful statistics clearly show us that there remains an enormous gap between the need and availability of support in Western Australia. What’s more, the need keeps growing, with rates of family and domestic violence Increasing by 3.5%  between 2021 and 2022.

Perth has a history of re-purposing and retrofitting buildings to ‘do the best we can’ for the most vulnerable people in our community. In fact, historically, large families and individuals with disabilities who have experienced FDV are unable to access the care they need due to unsuitable facilities. This approach simply does not encourage the best outcomes for those experiencing these challenges, or our community as a whole.

We know from our decades of experience in the sector, and consultation with lived experience advocates and other experts, that buildings that are built for purpose, combined with our proposed wrap-around, person-centred, trauma-informed service model will achieve far greater benefits for both our clients and the broader community.

The Ruah Centre for Women & Children puts women and children at the very heart of its design, development and operations. By providing the right services at the right time, in a one stop facility, women and their children will be able to receive the support they need by engaging with a host of services, all delivered in one central place.

The Centre will also be a place that addresses the huge and increasing gap in available support by building capacity through valuable research and collaboration, and works to change community perceptions and attitudes through awareness and education.

How will the Ruah Centre for Women and Children benefit the WA community?

We aim to disrupt the paradigm by creating a space for partners, community service providers and experts from other domains to come together, catalysing long-term and sustainable systems change. We ignite innovation, research and collaboration for new beginnings in lives and the community.

The Ruah Centre for Women & Children will tackle the complex problem of family and domestic violence in different ways by:

  • Delivering effective, trauma-informed services and support in a place designed for healing, security and dignity.
  • Building knowledge, capacity and success in our social services sector where evidence-informed practices result in life-changing outcomes.
  • Reducing the economic impact. While violence against women goes unaddressed, it costs Western Australia an estimated $2.82 billion dollars every year.
  • Reducing inter-generational trauma by providing appropriate support for children to stop the cycle of violence.

For community service providers, it will be a collaborative space for research and shared learning, building sector capacity including the development of evidence-based approaches to end the violence and drive system change.

Where will the women and children come from?

The new Centre will be an inclusive space, welcoming women from all backgrounds and circumstances. Women from across Western Australia are welcome to attend the Centre and engage with as many services as they require. Women and children will come from varying situations, at different points of their journey. For example, families may seek advice while still residing in their homes, need support after fleeing FDV, or require follow up services once they are settled into a new living arrangement.  At the Centre, everyone is welcome; regardless of where they are from.

Who will the Centre cater for?

The Centre will cater for women and children from all walks of life, at varying points of their healing journeys. Considered in the design of building and services are:

  • Aboriginal women, who are 32 times more likely to be hospitalised from family violence, to access trauma-informed and culturally aware services.
  • Women and children with disability.
  • Safe and inclusive services regardless of sexual orientation, evidenced by our Rainbow Tick Accreditation.

How will the Centre benefit women and children who are escaping violence?

The Ruah Centre for Women & Children will be a place where women and their children can have their needs met – in one place. They can access services for as long as they need to recover and thrive. Services include:

  • Koorta Guides for women and children
  • Accommodation for women and children
  • Counselling for women and children
  • Creche facilities 
  • Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Support
  • Legal Support
  • Primary healthcare (GP, Nurse, Practice Manager)
  • Dentist
  • Financial counselling
  • Employment and adult education support
  • Peer support
  • Education support for children 
  • Clothing and supplies
  • Healing and recovery Programs

How much will it cost?

The project is expected to cost approximately $30 million to build and $10 million to run annually.

How long will the Centre take to build?

Construction began in December 2023, and we expect completion by early to mid-2024.

What funds are needed to build this?

The WA State Government has contributed $4 million via LotteryWest funding, and the Federal Government is contributing $2.1 million.

Ruah is raising the rest of the funds from corporate donors and philanthropists who believe in the important work we are doing. We have already received generous support from private philanthropists and corporate donors and have so far achieved 80% of our capital raising target.  Fundraising remains ongoing.

Why should philanthropists invest in this project?

Ruah has a strong history of driving system and funding change through innovation including our work in homelessness and mental health services, so we have the track record to do this again in the area of family and domestic violence.

By working with philanthropists who want to see change, we know that we can make the transformative model required to drive the systems and policy changes required from government.

Who has been engaged for the construction of the building?

Ruah has collated a specialist team to execute this project;

  • Property Solve – Project Management
  • ADCO Construction – Builder
  • Sirona Urban – Development Management
  • RLB – Quantity Surveyor
  • Architectus – Architects and Interior Designers
  • BG&E – Structural & Civil Engineers
  • NDY – Building Services, Acoustics, Fire Engineering and Sustainability Consultants
  • PTS Town Planning – Town Planning
  • Hendry – Building Certification
  • Inhabit – Façade Engineering
  • Talis – Waste Consultant

How will services be delivered at the Centre?

Three key elements of Ruah’s approach which relate to the delivery of the above services, and which are strongly reflected in the intentional design of the Centre are:

  • A trauma informed approach to space creation and design
  • The innovative Karlup Service Model
  • Dedicated advocates, known as Koorta guides, who will walk alongside a woman and her children throughout their recovery and healing journey

How many women and children will the Centre serve?

The Centre has the capacity to assist around 600 women a year. The accommodation floors provide five studios, four one-bedroom and four two-bedroom apartments. It will cater for different numbers of women and children at any one time, depending on family configuration.
A key feature of the Centre design is that each room can be interconnecting to accommodate larger families. Unfortunately, there are few options for women with multiple children, which can force them to remain in dangerous home situations rather than splitting up their family.
At the Centre, we will be able to offer an innovative solution to this issue.

What is the Karlup Service Model?

Karlup, a Noongar Aboriginal word, means a ‘place’ where you belong and feel safe.

In designing our service model, we listened, engaged with, and were informed by diverse lived experience survivors.

Our Karlup Service Model will provide immediate impact for women and children, providing a future blueprint that can be replicated and scaled nationally. For more information, download our services brochure here.

What is a Koorta Guide?

Koorta means “trusted friend” in Noongar, the Aboriginal Language for WA Southwest.

Our Koorta Guide is a trusted advocate who will ‘walk alongside’ women and children through their journey to recovery, providing support and guidance to meet their needs. In addition, we also connect children to a Koorta Guide specifically for them. Their Guide will liaise closely with the mother’s Koorta Guide to achieve the best possible outcomes for the family.

Dedicated guides that provide continuous support throughout a client’s journey is part of Ruah’s vision and commitment to reducing trauma and complexity in navigating the system.

The Koorta Guide is a key component of our Karlup Service Model.

Who is Ruah?

Ruah is a leading not-for-profit that has been operating in Western Australia for more than 60 years.

Ruah has enormous depth and breadth of experience in services to support people experiencing homelessness, family violence and mental health challenges, and those requiring legal advice, representation and advocacy. We provide comprehensive care and support for thousands of people every year as they meet day-to-day challenges and transform their lives.

Ruah is managed by a progressive, professional Board and Executive, and operates 13 metropolitan and regional locations, as well as frontline partnerships with local government and police. Our lawyers also travel throughout regional WA and offer support via video link. Our operations include a wide range of different programs and services, including WA’s only specialist Mental Health Law Centre, which is part of Ruah Legal Services.

Ruah also has a strong track record of collaboration, innovation and best practice having led a number of collective impact projects including the Zero Project: WA’s Housing First Homelessness Initiative. Over time, the Ruah Centre for Women & Children will become an innovation and research hub – a place to collaborate on complex and interrelated social issues.

What does “Ruah” mean?

Ruah is an ancient Hebrew word meaning vital breath, wind, air and spirit. It was chosen in 2001 to honour the legacy of our founders, The Daughters of Charity, and it captures the spirit of the organisation we are today.

What has happened to the Ruah service for homelessness?

We relocated the Ruah Centre for homelessness support to 247 James Street Northbridge and it is now called the Ruah Engagement Hub.

The Ruah Engagement Hub welcomes adults over 20 years who are experiencing homelessness to access our support between 8.30am – 2.00pm Monday to Friday.  

How do I donate?

All donations are fully tax deductible as Ruah is a charity registered with the ACNC. You can make donations directly from our website.

For larger or continued support, or to set up a meeting with the Ruah Centre for Women & Children Campaign Team, please email [email protected]

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