How it all started..

Safe Haven Community Founder, Denise Hunter grew up in a farming environment with strong community connections in the beautiful Fassifern Valley area of the Scenic Rim in South East Queensland. The eldest of five children, life for Denise was tough but fun and it was this upbringing that inspired her to found the Safe Haven Community concept in October 2015 in response to disturbing statistics about the severe shortage of available housing for people fleeing domestic and family abuse. She heard that Domestic Violence call centres were receiving around 56,000 incoming calls every month and that around 18,000 were going unanswered. Her immediate thought was ‘Well even if they had answered them, where were they going to put them all?’ That night, unable to sleep she decided she would do something about it.



Jane is a well known and progressive social commentator, author and lecturer, acknowledged for her progressive views on so many issues that impact women.  In 2018, Jane received The Walkley Award for Women’s Leadership and in February 2019, she published her most recent work – Accidental Feminist.

“Raising awareness of domestic violence is a good idea but it would be good if we raised awareness of what people can do about it. Safe Haven is part of that solution”

Our Team

Denise Hunter – Founder

During her working career, Denise was a Bookkeeper/Administration Manager in several businesses notably the iconic Australian Woolshed, Channel 10 and later WIN Television in Rockhampton. Many years as a single mum to four children, and her farming background instilled a great work ethic and a “can do” attitude in Denise. It was only upon reaching retirement age and putting aside the opportunity to be a doting Grandma to her four (currently, two more on the way) grandchildren, that she found she had the time and the reason to finally give back to people in need.

Denise is the first to describe herself as “just a woman from the suburbs” and she has been ( and still is) determined to create a simple and safe community-based solution to address the situation.  Her tenacity and attitude of “just get off your bum and do something” proved to be a driving force behind what has now, together with the creative business minds and direction of some great people, become an innovative and effective community-based solution.

Jaeneen Cunningham – Chief Executive

As the Chief Executive of Safe Haven, Jaeneen is responsible for bringing Denise’s early vision from concept to fruition as a fully self-sustainable service.

Jaeneen’s business acumen and entrepreneurial nature are well supported by her many achievements – In addition to Management Consulting, she founded EquityLend, a successful financial services company that has operated for over 20 years; in 2009 she founded the collaborative business communities Integr8 and Executive Elite; and presently she owns and manages Etairos Finance (part of the Etairos Accounting & Finance group).

Jaeneen was a Telstra Business Woman State Finalist and awarded ‘Manager of Year’ by the Association of Women in Finance.  She has presented keynotes to universities, banks and industry groups and in addition to her business ventures, Jaeneen has extensive corporate experience working for Macquarie Bank and Westpac and is committed to advancing the community through organisations like Zonta, Rotary, and CEO Sleepout.

Through her businesses, and throughout her life, Jaeneen has always worked to empower women.

Paul Cunningham – Financial Controller

Paul is an accomplished finance professional, diversely experienced across a range of industries. With a background in accounting he has worked primarily in financial management and business development roles in premium banking and finance.

Paul is a partner at Etairos Finance (part of the Etairos Accounting & Finance group).

Our mission

To provide earlier intervention pathways, allowing people to escape abusive relationships before they escalate to physical violence.

Safe Haven Community Services

Purpose of our services

The purpose of our services are to;

  • provide relief of distress for individuals and families (Guests) at risk of domestic abuse or homelessness, by providing safe, secure short-term community-based accommodation

  • compliment and support the DV and homelessness sector in providing essential services that are in limited supply
  • facilitate community-based accommodation and matching Guests with appropriate Providers

  • provide or ensure ongoing support to Guests, Accommodation Providers, Case Managers and Referrers

  • promote the lack of safe, secure housing for individuals and families at risk of domestic abuse or homelessness to the general public

  • raise public funds to fulfill service requirements

Service framework

Our vision

There is always a safe place to stay for people wishing to leave an abusive relationship. People no longer have to wait until they are in extreme danger of physical violence or homelessness before they qualify for assistance.

Risk management

Referral agencies

We help refuges and shelters find new accommodation options for guests who no longer need such a high level of support. This makes room for new high priority cases to enter the refuge and access the critical services they need.
Often when people ring the Domestic Violence call centres they are in immediate danger or crisis. They have high risk and complex needs that need to be addressed by highly qualified and fully trained professionals from the DV and homelessness sectors. These people need to be placed in a refuge or shelter. For safety reasons it would not be appropriate to place these people in a private community home.
Typically, after around 12 weeks in a refuge or shelter, the person’s highest needs will have been addressed and their personal risk will be much lower and they will be able to self-manage. This is when the person is eligible to be considered for a Safe Haven Community placement. NOTE: The person must have been confirmed low risk by a qualified Risk Assessment Worker or Case Manager.

Self-referring Guests

Some people may wish to approach Safe Haven Community directly as they do not think they are high risk enough to bother the already overloaded DV and homelessness call centres, or they may have already been turned away by some service providers as they do not fit the criteria for that particular service provider. In situations such as this, Safe Haven Community will offer a Case Manager and conduct our own risk assessment.  If the person’s individual risk is deemed to be low and therefore not putting the potential Guest or any of our Accommodation Providers at risk of harm then we may be able to assist in the provision of a community placement.

PLEASE NOTE: We do not guarantee the provision of any accommodation or other services if we are not comfortable with our perceived level of risk. Safety for all Guests and Accommodation Providers is our highest priority.


Guest Safety

All Guests are assessed by a fully trained professional to understand their personal situation and support requirements during their stay. This includes initial and ongoing risk assessment, needs assessment, personal safety plan, and an exit strategy. Appointed Case Managers will work with the Guest to address all needs and will make referrals to other agencies and support services where appropriate.

The safety of our Guests and Accommodation Providers is our highest priority

Accommodation Providers Safety

All Registered Accommodation Providers are vetted, ID checked and police checked and are fully supported by Safe Haven to provide a positive and supporting environment for their Guests. All of our Guests are encouraged to complete confidential feedback forms to let us know if there are issues with any of our Accommodation Providers. Any issues relating to inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with immediately and may cause a Provider to be suspended or removed from our database.


We adhere strictly to our organisational policy and procedure documents and protocols to ensure the highest level of accountability and transparency at all times throughout the entire organisation. This also includes our Referral Agencies, Case Managers, Accommodation Providers, Guests and any Volunteers.

Policies and procedures

Our policies and procedures meet or exceed industry standards and were built in conjunction with the following documents;

  • QLD Government –  Human Services Quality Framework

  • QLD Government – Practice Standards for Working with Women Affected by Domestic and Family Violence

  • Victorian Government, Department of Human Services – Family Violence Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework (CRAF) and Practice Guides

  • NSW Govt – DV Safety Assessment Tool

  • Australian Govt – Screening, Risk Assessment and Safety Planning Paper

  • Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission – Guideline on Family Violence Services and Accommodation

  • Australian Standards AS ISO 10002 – 2006 Customer Satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations

  • Residential tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008

  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011

Our commitments

Organisational values

Our organisational values guide all aspects of our charity and interactions. They help us build a strong team foundation and an even stronger charity culture.


The safety of our Guests and Providers is our highest priority


We respectfully acknowledge the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of all Guests and Providers


We welcome diversity and equality, and deliver ethical, non-discriminatory and culturally aware services


We operate at the highest levels of integrity and always have our finger on the pulse


We provide skilled and professional staff and directors who are diligent, ethical and committed to the objectives and impact goals of the charity


We find ways to overcome new challenges and solve problems every day


We always look for areas to improve and grow our services

Great Service

We provide polite and proactive customer service that exceeds expectations. We go the extra mile.

Projected outcomes for the next 12 months

Safe Haven Community will provide 10,000 nights of accommodation to women, men, children and pets in a supported and nurturing private community home

Impact goals

Safe Haven Community’s measurable contribution goals for the next 12 months include;

Establish 500 Safe Haven Community providers across Australia
Reach and maintain capacity of 18,000 nights per year of accommodation
Provide safety for 1250 individuals per year (average 14 night stay)

Legal structure

Safe Haven Community is an Australian Public Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. We operate in Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.


Safe Haven Community is also endorsed by the Australian Tax Office as a Public Benevolent Institution with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status effective from 27th April 2017.

Entity name: Safe Haven Community
ABN: 92 618 365 594
Entity Type: Charity
Sub-Entity Type: 2014 Public benevolent institution
2014 Advancing social or public welfare
Effective Date: 24th April 2017

Contact Us





Please use the contact form to send your support, ideas, requests, or concerns. We will respond as soon as we are able. If you require a more immediate response you can use the number below to call and speak to us in person.

Call: 18 000 HAVEN (1800 042 836)


Safe Haven Community acknowledges the traditional custodians of our land and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging