Waratah encourages an environment in which survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault/abuse have the right to exercise choice over their lives. There is a strong belief in the survivor’s power to change their environment at a personal, local and social level. Our philosophy is to form links and mutual support between themselves, workers and community groups.
Waratah believes that promoting community awareness, training, provision of information, research, advocacy, and lobbying are some of the key elements in addressing the issues of violence. As an organisation Waratah is committed to providing and encouraging the development of such activities.
The Waratah Team is made up of:
- Female Social workers
- Female Psychologists
- Female Counsellors
- Administration Staff
The History of Waratah
Waratah support Centre opened in 1988 to provide crisis intervention, counselling and community education in the areas of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault/Abuse to women in the South West. The idea for the co-located service was developed in 1986 with the amalgamation of the Sexual Assault Support Centre Committee (incorporated in 1981) and the Women’s Refuge Steering Committee (which saw the need to provide services in addition to emergency accommodation). This was based on research from the United States which recognised the link between domestic violence and sexual assault and recommended co-location of services. Since then a number of programs have been funded and offered through the service.
The Genesis of Waratah
The genesis of Waratah as a name came after much discussion between all those involved with the Centre.
The Waratah is a native flower which, when burnt and seemingly destroyed by bush fire, grows back and flowers again. It is a symbol of gentleness, beauty and resilience. Its colour is an intense red, red as blood, which links the flower with our heart; and the green is the symbol of life and growth.
Usually the flower is a deep red, but occasionally a white one may be found.
However, in the Dreamtime all the Waratah’s were white. The Dreamtime story tells how the female Wonga pigeon, injured by the hawk, bled from her heart onto the white flowers, transforming them to red. The symbolism of regeneration, healing and strength is one to which survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault can rightly lay claim.