What is a Women’s Shelter?
Women’s Shelters provide safe, secure, crisis accommodation and practical support for women and children experiencing Domestic Violence and Family Violence. Women’s Shelters are sometimes called Refuges or Safe Houses.
What is Domestic Violence and Family Violence?
Domestic Violence is a term used to describe a systematic pattern of abusive, coercive and often physically violent behaviors that the perpetrator (nearly always a man) uses to consistently dominate and control his partner (nearly always a woman). Perpetrators of Domestic Violence believe that men are superior to women, and that a man has a fundamental right to dominate and control his partner. Many perpetrators of Domestic Violence are misogynists, ie, men who hate women.
Domestic Violence can include physical violence, sexual abuse, financial abuse, verbal abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse and social abuse. In many Domestic Violence situations all of these forms of abuse are present in varying degrees.
Family Violence incorporates all of the above and covers relationships that are not intimate ones, ie, a relationship with a family member, or an informal care relationship.
What is Ruth’s Women’s Shelter like?
Ruth’s is a purpose built Women’s Shelter that is communal living, ie, each family has their own bedroom and they share an adjoining bathroom with another family. There are 2 kitchens, 2 lounge areas, 3 children play areas, outdoor areas and laundry.
Are there very strict rules?
At Ruth’s our priority is your safety, security within a harmonious living environment. To achieve this there are guidelines to be followed. Family members, friends, visitors, and workers from other agencies (who may be assisting you) are not allowed in or near the Shelter premises. You can arrange to meet them a certain distance away from the Shelter and the staff will give you suggestions of meeting places. You can use your mobile phone in the Shelter though we do ask that you do so away from other residents. There is also a public phone at the Shelter.
The Shelter is a confidential location. It is requested that you do not tell anyone its location while you stay at the Shelter or after you have left. Keeping the Shelter’s location confidential enables women and children who come to us in the future to feel as safe and secure as you do.
Regular House Meetings are held weekly with all the women in residence (after the children have gone to bed) to ensure the guidelines are understood and to clarify any concerns that may arise.
Will my partner find me?
Ruth’s ensures every effort is made to avoid this. The security surrounding the building and safety measures discussed with the residents is designed to enhance your sense of security while staying at Ruth’s. If you have any concerns please feel free to speak to the Staff.
Do I have to pay?
A nominal amount of Board is paid at the Shelter. Ruth’s provides the basic foods so the women do not have to go shopping if they choose not to. Individual circumstances are taken into consideration, eg, no income.
How long can I stay?
Ruth’s is one of two women’s shelters in Cairns and covers the area from Cooktown to Cardwell. We provide crisis accommodation. The Case Managers are working with the women daily to assist them to achieve their goals and to move forward.