Formerly the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement, the organisation dates back to March 1974 when a group of feminist activists started the first women’s refuge in NSW named Elsie.

The service worked towards addressing the absence of alternatives for women at that time by providing a safe option for women and children escaping domestic violence.

This refuge was to be the precursor to the establishment of more refuges and variety of other specialist domestic and family violence services.

In recognition of the evolution of services provided by members - from “refuge” to holistic specialist domestic violence services - members voted in July 2013 to expand the membership to all specialist domestic and family violence services, operating within a feminist framework and to adopt a name change from NSW Women’s Refuge Movement to Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW).

These changes emphasise our commitment to advocacy and representation.

For more details of our story download this document.