Our Story

Acknowledging our past

At a time when women wouldn’t dare speak out about their private life and violence in the home was brushed aside, there was little help for women and children who found themselves in abusive situations. Thankfully a group of community-driven leaders were ready to create change by providing a local refuge to help the most vulnerable feel safe and supported.


In the mid-70’s Patricia Thomas, the then Chairperson of Mandurah Health Centre, along with Joy Carter, Maureen Sullivan and Rev. Brian Newing recognised the need for a Women’s Refuge within the region. While our journey began in late 1975 it took nearly 15 years before our first purpose-built refuge was completed in 1989, and officially opened in 1990 as Pat Thomas Memorial Community House. At the opening the sustained commitment of Ms Joy Carter was acknowledged and thanks given to Pat Thomas House patron, Mr Dudley Tuckey, a dedicated community leader.


The journey to this milestone had many challenges and the community-driven leaders and volunteers who kept the dream alive are true heroes. These heroes inspired change and gave hope to those that most needed it and collectively they made a safe place for women and children in the Peel region a reality.

Welcoming our future

The next 30 years saw the refuge transform from a small passion driven initiative to a professional family and domestic violence service now known as OVIS Community Services. The tenacity, passion and compassion of our early pioneers continues to inspire our organisation to support people to overcome violence and inspire individuals, from all walks of life, to create a safer future for themselves and others.


Our organisation and our brand are evolving to embrace a new era. This transformation ensures we remain relevant, responsive and accessible to the people who most need our services. OVIS embodies all our current services and provides a platform for the continued design and development of innovative person-centred programs that deliver on our mission.


Today OVIS delivers services under four pillars these include crisis accommodation and support, early intervention, post crisis-support and community education programs. We remain the primary provider of family and domestic violence services in the Peel region and are deeply connected to the community who support us to sustainably deliver these vital programs.

Together we can continue to empower people in our community to live a life free of violence and abuse.

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