Media Release


Dandenong Family Violence Service Needs Support


Wellsprings for Women

One of Victoria’s most established support services in the City of Dandenong for migrant women dealing with family violence, could be forced to close its case management service because of lack of funding.

 Janet Cribbes
Wellsprings for Women

Janet Cribbes, Chair of Wellsprings for Women, said Wellsprings provides services to women, especially migrant women, who face several barriers including language, cultural, religious, lack of familiarity of services and systems, and socio-economic disadvantage.    

The region where Wellsprings operates has the highest number of women reporting family violence in the State. 

Currently Wellsprings is assisting over 100 women with a small team of 5 staff. Should the funding end Wellsprings is concerned about its clients and how to keep supporting them.

Ms Cribbes said "The Wellsprings service model is flexible, unencumbered by eligibility criteria, time limits, or rigid procedures which is a vital element when dealing with complex family violence.”

A significant number of migrant and refugee women who choose to disclose their experiences of family violence to our staff, do not wish to leave the relationship and need our support while they consider their options. "Often they perceive the alternative to staying as worse.”

Ms Cribbes said Government and other agencies refer women with critical family violence experiences to Wellsprings to receive the social, emotional, and practical supports they need, which other agencies are unable, or unequipped to provide.

Wellsprings staff provide assistance with attending courts, accessing legal advice, attending police or child protection, and being available when women are facing dangerous situations. 

“Due to Wellsprings women-only environment and the range of programs and services offered, the women feel comfortable and secure in attending the Centre, participating in a program while being a client of Wellsprings. This gives them the discretion they need which is not the case if they were attending a dedicated Family Violence service,” Ms Cribbes said.

“Wellsprings for Women provides culturally responsive and appropriate support to women impacted by family violence within a welcoming environment.”       

Ms Cribbes said, Wellsprings is advocating for a diverse family violence service system that offers migrant and refugee women the options to access the service that suits their needs and supports the choices they make. 

“Importantly women of migrant and refugee background impacted by family violence present with complex and wide-ranging needs which are most effectively addressed within agencies where they have developed trust and built rapport.

Media Enquiries:

Ron Smith, Media Communications, Wellsprings for Women – Mobile: 0417 329 201

History of Wellsprings for Women 1994 to 2021 

In 1994 Wellsprings opened its doors one day per week as a Drop-in Centre offering a friendly environment for women to meet in a non-threatening, homely venue. 

As the number of women attending the Centre grew, a holistic program was developed addressing the physical, emotional, spiritual, recreational, educational and skill based needs of the women. 

These programs were offered to encourage and empower women to grow in self esteem and learn about the wide variety of opportunities available to them in the community.

The large number of Refugee and Asylum Seeker families who have moved into the Dandenong area called for new and creative responses to a wide variety of needs, and the centre has evolved to provide programs to meet these needs.

From that beginning the Programs have gradually increased to the point where the centre is now open 5 days a week and caters for approximately 300 women weekly. 

Wellsprings has fully qualified staff and a large number of well-trained volunteers.

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