Safe house rises to award-winner

Program manager for Kira House Ariana Kaa, domestic violence worker Jeanie Ashboth, Community Services Minister Tony Simpson and Penny Webb, divisional manager, Youth and Mental Health, at the Community Service Excellence Awards.
Program manager for Kira House Ariana Kaa, domestic violence worker Jeanie Ashboth, Community Services Minister Tony Simpson and Penny Webb, divisional manager, Youth and Mental Health, at the Community Service Excellence Awards.

The group won best large organisation at the recent Community Service Excellence Awards for its dedication to improving the lives of hundreds of West Australians.

Formerly known as the Hills Community Support Group, Rise helps girls and young women who have experienced serious domestic violence through its Kira House project in Midland.

Kira House was inspired in 2004 by the plight of a pregnant teenager with nowhere to go in the refuge system.

Opening its doors in 2008, Kira is WA’s first 24-hour a day, seven days a week, safe house for girls aged 14 to 18.

The project operates with the support of local businesses and provides help for up to six families at a time. Services include basic life skills, disease management and parenting.

In some cases. women give birth while they are staying at Kira House and they are supported through the process.

After they have left the house, additional support is provided by establishing networks for their safety while continuing to improve their life skills and wellbeing. The community awards, held every two years, are a partnership between the Department of Local Government and Communities, and the WA Council of Social Service.

Community Services Minister Tony Simpson said this year’s award entries were stronger than ever.

‘The State Government recognises that these organisations are best placed to deliver services to some of our State’s most vulnerable people,’ he said.

‘It will continue to work in partnership with organisations, such as the WA Council of Social Service, to build a strong and sustainable community services sector.’

Rise has begun a new, three-year partnership with St John of God Health Care to boost its services.

A share of $300,000 in funding from St John of God will be used to provide a new youth case worker at Kira House.

St John of God youth manager Mike Board described Kira House as ‘vital for vulnerable women who need accommodation and support’.

Rise youth services manager Megan Richards said she expected to help more than 120 women a year through the new partnership.