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<p><span style="color: #444444;"><i>“The Key to thinking about this unit is the prevention of violence. We don’t want people to have to leave their communities and families…. We need to make sure that everyone has access to education on their rights. That they have access to justice.” </i></span><br /><span style="color: #444444;"><strong>Sarah Hurren, Shelter Manager</strong></span></p>
<p><span style="color: #444444;">The Family Violence and Prevention Legal Unit (FVPLU) is at the foundation of Marninwarntikura’s work. It is a site of safety, protection and violence prevention. The unit has services and legal mechanisms in place for women to break cycles of violence and trauma and begin journeys of recovery and empowerment.</span><br /><span style="color: #444444;"> Marninwarntikura was established on the same site that the unit is on today. In the early 90s the women opened Marninwarntikura as a refuge. While domestic violence fractured families and communities, government and local service providers turned a blind eye to the issue. Domestic violence was a silent and invisible crisis. Without intervention it was quickly becoming normalised in the valley. Courageously, the women used the horrors they experienced to forge an organisation responsive to women’s fears and advocate for their rights today and in the future. Today the refuge has grown into the FVPLU and is separated into two facilities. The shelter is a secure refuge for women and their children. Women seeking protection at the shelter are referred to the legal unit. The legal unit deals primarily with family violence legislation and restraining orders.</span></p>
<p><span style="color: #444444;"><i>“It is about the little changes. Women are growing in self-confidence. You don’t always have to see it or understand but things are changing.” </i></span><br /><span style="color: #444444;"><strong>Denice Cotterill, Shelter Team Leader</strong></span></p>
<p><span style="color: #444444;">Over the last two decades, the unit has helped hundreds of women to feel safe. However, domestic violence remains endemic across the region. The unit strives tirelessly to bring about community wide change. It continues to provide counselling services and therapeutic programs to strengthen women’s self-esteem, and sense of self-worth, helping them protect and care for themselves, and their families and communities.</span></p>