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About Us

Kara Family Violence Service provides safety, support and education for women and children impacted by family violence. We encourage and empower women to take control of their lives and work towards making strategies to create a better future.

About Kara Family Violence Service


489 women and 339 children last year

We provided advice, emotional support, secure accomodation and safety planning

46 different cultural backgrounds

We provide services to clients who come from 46 linguistic and cultural backgrounds

82% disclosed a diagnosed mental illness

Last year 82% of our clients were diagnosed with one or more mental illnesses

Operating for 43 years, Kara Family Violence Service is a non-for-profit organisation primarily funded by the Victorian State Government. Further fundraising and grants help support additional educational programs, well-being activities and improvements to the refuge.

  • We believe in the rights of women and children to live free of violence and we provide highly secure accommodation and services which prioritises their safety
  • We offer a range of programs and services that provide safety, support and education for people no matter their background
  • We have a specialist understanding of the complexities of family violence which helps our clients make informed choices to improve their long term outcomes
  • We challenge service providers, government and the community to adopt responses that do not tolerate violence to women and children

Our history

  • The Italian welfare organisation Co.As.It (Comitato Assistenza Italiana) creates a place for women to reside in response to the existence of violence in Italian families. The house, located in Carlton, was self-funded by Co.As.It and the Italian community
  • Government support is introduced in Victoria for refuges and Co.As.It is one of the first to receive funding. This enables Co.As.It. to establish a permanent refuge
  • After lengthy discussions, Co.As.It relinquishes responsibility to a new body to be run solely for women
  • The organisation purchases a permanent location which still houses the refuge to today
  • The women’s refuge becomes an Incorporated Association known as Kara House
  • Kara House, in response to community need, establishes a Domestic Violence Outreach program to provide information and support
  • Kara House expands its Domestic Violence Outreach program to meet the needs of lesbian/same sex attracted women
  • Kara House receives funding from the department of Human Services to provide a program called A Place to Call Home
  • Kara House moves office to larger premises with better facilities, sharing with another family violence service
  • Kara House expands its Family Violence Outreach Program to include the entire LGBTIQA+ community
  • Kara House takes a larger role in the Motel Outreach Program, supporting up to 300 women and their children a year
  • Kara House introduces the Family Violence Support Group which provides ongoing support for women who have experienced family violence in the wider community
  • In October Kara House celebrates 40 years of empowering and supporting women and children escaping family violence
  • In January we expanded our education program by introducing "Art and Wellbeing" for the clients in refuge.
  • In March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic we successfully changed the way we worked enabling Kara House to remain open for the entire year.
  • In November Kara House was made the Victorian partner of Say It Out Loud. Our role is to update share information about LGTBIQ domestic and family violence
  • In March Kara House announces the build of a second refuge due for complettion in October
  • In March rebrand and change of name to Kara Family Violence Service to better reflect our wide range of services

Our vision



Kara Family Violence Service supports the rights of women and children to live safely and without fear of violence.

Download our Strategic Plan here


To provide support to women and their children impacted by family violence. We do this by:

  • Advocating on behalf of our diverse client base and the Domestic and Family Violence sector
  • Being responsive and adaptable in service delivery
  • Contributing towards changing the story around wider awareness of domestic and family violence
  • Actively collaborating for a sustainable future


In our community and sector we value:

  • Respect and acceptance for those who access our services
  • Empowerment of women and children
  • Resilience
  • Children's safety and wellbeing
  • Access and equality

Within our Kara Family Violence Service team we value:

  • Respect and acceptance of our colleagues
  • Working together as a team
  • Environment for growth and learning
  • Flexibility
  • Diversity
  • Continuous improvement

Our industry partners

Victoria State Government

Kara Family Violence Service acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and the staff in the Eastern Region who have assisted with their donation collections and ongoing support.

We’d like to thank the organisations and services listed below who we partner with to provide services.

Our leadership - Board

Kara Family Violence Service is an Incorporated Association governed by a Board with an executive elected by its Members.

The Kara Family Violence Service Board is comprised of knowledgeable women with extensive experience in business related disciplines such as Financial Services, Legal, IT, Human Resources and Fundraising and Marketing. Members also have direct knowledge of the family violence and homelessness sector.

Kara Family Violence Service Board has responsibility under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 and the Kara Family Violence Service constitution to provide leadership, set the strategic direction of the organisation and monitor the finances and activities. The Board has overall responsibility to ensure Kara Family Violence Service is accountable, complies with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, and supports its vision, purpose and aims. Our Board members are all volunteers that give of their time and expertise.

Kara Family Violence Service Board

Chair Catherine Lockstone
Secretary Shelley Tung
Treasurer Ciara Boyd
Vice Chair Maureen Breen
Member Susan Smith
Dr Angela Spinney
Dr Ilsa Evans
Geraldine Bilston

Learn more about Kara Family Violence Service through our Annual Reports

Interested in joining the Kara Family Violence Service Board?

Kara Family Violence Service is governed by a Board of capable and professional women and welcomes applications from women who can add to our skill base. If you are interested in joining the Kara Family Violence Service Board, please email your expression of interest to the Manager at admin@KaraFVS.org.au

Continuous Quality Improvement

Kara Family Violence Service is continuously looking at ways we can improve our processes, the support we provide to our clients and our interaction with the community and other service providers.


The management and staff of Kara Family Violence Service are proud to have demonstrated our commitment to quality service delivery and ongoing improvement by successfully achieving external accreditation for another three year term (2021-2024). Kara Family Violence Service met all Quality Improvement Council (QIC) and Department of Health and Human Service (HSS) standards, obtaining very positive feedback from the Quality Innovation Performance (QIP) assessors. Our identified strengths included "strong risk and safety culture, lived values, visible leadership, excellent internal communication and very collaborative both internally and externally". A final comment summed up our achievement, "outcomes are excellent".