A SMALL group of Bayswater-based volunteers has helped nearly 200 Perth families start over after escaping domestic violence.
Starting Over Support service (SOS) has already provided 190 families with essentials to furnish a new house including beds, couches and white goods, as they come out of refuges.
Covering the metropolitan area, it is the only service in Perth that provides everything for the house.
Manager Debbie Mason approached Zonta House Refuge Association three years ago for support to start up the service and were provided a double garage and a granny flat that they “outgrew massively”.
SOS became incorporated last month and is now based out of a Bayswater warehouse; they do up to five deliveries a week of cleaning products, tables, chairs, vases, cutlery, power boards and other items needed to start life over.
“Sometimes when we get to them they are sleeping on blankets and pillows on the floor, they haven’t got a fridge, cutlery, plates,” Ms Mason said.
“The biggest problem for women who’ve come from a domestic violence situation is that everything seems difficult, everything’s a challenge and this is one thing that helps make life normal.
“Most of them are quite shocked that we would be prepared to give them so much and that it’s all free.”
Ms Mason said they had afforded a year’s rent through fundraising, market stalls and a 100 Women grant, as well as ongoing goods donations.
A large donation from the closure of Swan Districts Hospital helped with stock.
She said they hoped to expand the service and purchase a dedicated truck, as often they could not get to all clients within the week.
Ms Mason said domestic violence, which also affects men, was more prevalent at the moment.
She said in 2014 they helped five clients a month, in 2015 10 a month and were already up to 15 families per month this year.
“When there’s no help they don’t know how to escape… women are finding that they can get out, there are people to help them,” she said.
Most needed items included fridges, washing machines, microwaves, brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners and chests of drawers.
For more information or to donate call 0431 291 816.