Our history

In 1974, as a result of the work and dedication of a group of women belonging to the Women’s Liberation Movement, the first shelter in Australia was opened in Glebe, Sydney.

The Women’s Liberation Movement also opened an office in Adelaide. When they made it known that they were keen to support women experiencing domestic violence, they were inundated with calls from women living in fear of their partners. It was clear that specific services were required to help these women and their children. Women who had been made homeless through domestic violence were encouraged to squat in unused Highway’s Department buildings: this provided evidence and alerted government to the need for a women’s shelter.

Central Domestic Violence Service originates from the two oldest services in South Australia that were instrumental in creating services for women and children:

  • the Women’s Emergency Shelter, incorporated and funded for one full time worker in 1974
  • the Western Women’s Shelter, incorporated in 1978.

These services were established in response to the committed and tireless work of women who persevered in ensuring that Governments prioritise services for women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Over the years advocacy has ensured the progressive increase of funding to women’s services and today there are a number of services in metropolitan and regional areas.