Domestic violence transcends gender in service roles

Zonta House Refuge Association CEO Steve Parry. Picture: David Baylis        
Zonta House Refuge Association CEO Steve Parry. Picture: David Baylis        

A CANNING Vale father of two has taken on a traditional ⿿women⿿s role⿿ helping women in crisis and is CEO of a woman's refuge

Steve Parry has been appointed as the inaugural chief executive at the Zonta House Refuge Association.

The organisation has provided refuge and transitional accommodation, support services and education to women in need over the age of 18 for the past 30 years.

Mr Parry said family and domestic violence affected the entire community irrespective of gender and was an issue that should be tackled by everyone.

“Having worked with the family and domestic violence sector for many years, working towards the common goal of ensuring women and children had access to safe and affordable housing, I didn’t think twice about taking on this challenging role,” he said.

“Zonta House does not simply assist women in crisis but also provides the pathway to stable independent long-term accommodation, safety and overall improved quality of life.”

The former general manager of service delivery at the Department of Housing worked with Zonta House while in that role. He then left the public sector to work in the East Kimberley as chief executive of an Aboriginal community.

Now back in Perth, Mr Parry is working on building corporate partnerships and accessing private foundation and philanthropic partnerships for the organisation.

“The need for our services grows and accessing funding has become more competitive and the not-for-profit sector itself is changing, it’s evolving, becoming more sophisticated,” he said.

“If I can help navigate Zonta House through this change, to grow the services it delivers and provide a sustainable funding model that lasts for another 30 years, I’ll be a proud bloke.”

Zonta House runs a Positive Pathways program, which helps women lead more independent, safer and fulfilling lives, and seeks to break the cycle of family and domestic violence.

Zonta House Refuge Association chairperson Glenda Scott said while it was unusual to appoint a male as CEO of a Women’s Refuge, the issue of domestic violence must be tackled by women and men together.

“Domestic violence should not be seen as the domain of one gender,” she said.