In a world where women are often the victims of violence and abuse there is a shining light for women in the Riverina.
The Wagga Women's Health Centre has expanded its services to support more women at more times with an after hours service and telephone counselling service.
The centre is now open on weekends and public holidays and there is now telehealth (phone counselling) available two nights a week.
The new telehealth service will allow women to access counselling outside office hours between 6pm to 9pm Monday and Wednesday.
It’s also an access point for women in more remote areas and anyone outside of Wagga.
“It’s great to have someone appropriate and safe to talk to,” crisis and support worker Julie Mecham said.
Thanks to this increased service the centre is now looking for more staff to join their team in counselling or support work.
“We’re really open to women with a range of life experiences that adds value to the work they do,” Ms Mecham said.
“It’s enormously satisfying to see an opportunity for the centre to expand.
“Every year we see more and more women but it's that sort of job where you want to see less.
“Last year we had more than 4000 occasions of service.”
Wagga Women's Health Centre has been operating for almost 40 years providing therapeutic support services for women.
“The client is at the centre of everything that happens,” Ms Mecham said.
“We’re not trying to fit someone into our mould and tell them what they need to do, we want to build support around them.”
All services are free for women to access as regularly and for as long as they require.
“The best part of my job is when women first make contact and they ask how much it costs and I can tell them it’s free, then they ask how many times they can come and I can say as many times as you need,” finance officer Alison Carr said.
The additional services have been funded by the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network with the aim of assisting more women in need.
“We can fill the gap within the community at a time when few other services are open,” Ms Mecham said.
Both police and the hospital can direct women to the service knowing there will be qualified staff ready to support them.
The after hours service is also vital to addressing loneliness and isolation within the community with weekend activities giving women a chance to connect.
To become part of the team delivering vital services to women get in touch with the centre for more information on the roles available.