West Connect (D.V.S)
West Connect Domestic Violence Services is a not-for-profit organization that provides services to women and children whose lives have been impacted by domestic and family violence and related issues including homelessness.They provide emergency housing, shelter and counselling
The crisis refuge in the Penrith area has been operating for more than 30 years and has grown and developed over the years. The refuge is situated in a large house with a safe fenced backyard, play equipment and child care building where the children’s program and activities are held.
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Penrith RSL Club and the Heart of our City
“Our staff focus on empowering women so that they can work towards an independent life free from violence.” Vanessa Donald-Smith, Manager of the Penrith Branch of West Connect, Domestic Violence Services.
On Wednesday 13th July 2016, Anne Sillett, Executive Officer of West Connect Domestic Violence Services and Vanessa Donald-Smith, Manager of their Penrith branch, accepted a donation of $2,250.00 from Penrith RSL Club, as a part of the Club’s Staff Giveback Program.
Ms Donald-Smith addressed the Board and Management of the Club when she accepted the donation, “We are so humbled and very honoured to have been selected as one of the recipients of the RSL’s program.”
West Connect Domestic Violence Services (WCDVS), provides support and services for women that have been victimised by domestic violence. Some of their services include temporary housing, counselling and legal aid.
Ms Donald-Smith said, “We have refuges in 4 locations in the Nepean, Blue Mountains, Blacktown and Hills districts. These are available to women who need immediate removal from their home situation and require safe accommodation and support due to domestic violence. We have two refuges that cater for women with children, one for women without children and a specialist Aboriginal women and children’s refuge. We also provide transitional accommodation for women who require additional support following the initial crisis period for an extended time, up to 1 year.”
Women who come to the refuge are allocated their own support worker who will assist them with information, support and advocacy. All refuge locations are secure buildings with access to staff support 24 hours.
“Our staff focus on empowering women so that they can work towards an independent life free from violence.” Said Ms Donald-Smith.
With the recent White Ribbon awareness campaign, public awareness of violence against women has increased dramatically over the last few years. However, the White Ribbon campaign focuses on male perpetrated violence whereas West Connect provide services for all female victims of domestic violence, including those from transgender or same sex relationships..
For further information about West Connect Domestic Violence Services, please visit
WCDVS Executive Officer, Ms Anne Sillett, Penrith RSL Club Chairman, Mr Frank Portelli, Penrith RSL Club CEO, Mr Neel Chand and WCDVS Manager, Ms Vanessa Donald-Smith.