Formerly the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement, the organisation dates back to March 1974 when a group of feminist activists started the first women’s refuge in NSW named Elsie.

The service worked towards addressing the absence of alternatives for women at that time by providing a safe option for women and children escaping domestic violence.

This refuge was to be the precursor to the establishment of more refuges and a variety of other specialist domestic and family violence services.

In recognition of the evolution of services provided by members - from “refuge” to holistic specialist domestic violence services - members voted in July 2013 to expand the membership to all specialist domestic and family violence services, operating within a feminist framework and to adopt a name change from NSW Women’s Refuge Movement to Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW).

These changes emphasise our commitment to advocacy and representation.

For more details of our story download this document.