A Brisbane-based charity wants to grow an Australia-wide network of spare rooms in private homes to help people escape domestic problems before they explode into violence.

Safe Haven Community began operating in Brisbane in September 2017 and already has 150 “spare rooms” volunteered around south-east Queensland.
Advertising worker Paul Ferry spoke at a disappointingly small rally in Brisbane’s Queen’s Park next to Treasury Casino in George Street on Sunday where he explained the fledgling idea from Denise Hunter, which now houses more than 50 people.

Men speak out against domestic violence on women at a rally in Queens Park. Paul Ferry from Safe Haven Community.
Men speak out against domestic violence on women at a rally in Queens Park. Paul Ferry from Safe Haven Community.Photo: Tony Moore

Mr Ferry is the executive director of Save Haven Community and he was one of the speakers where men rallied to support women.

The rally asked men to play a larger role in questioning the silent perception that women can be struck, beaten or sexually abused by some men.

“It is a registered charity which helps people who are in abusive relationships, not yet violent relationships,” Mr Ferry said.

“So that might include psychologically abusive relationships, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse, controlling behaviour,” he said.
“But not yet punching, or burning and stabbing and strangling.”
Mr Ferry said people volunteer a spare room in their house.

“And people seem to be willing to donate those spare rooms to help someone be safe and happy,” he said.

Welfare groups working in the domestic violence sphere, including Micah Projects, DV Connect, Access, St Vincent de Paul, Anglicare and Church of Christ deal first with high-priority domestic violence victims and refer them to refuges and shelters.

“They are often in strongly violent physical relationships,” Mr Ferry said.
Other groups help the homeless or people with drug problems.

Men speak out against domestic violence on women at a rally in Brisbane's Queens Park.
Men speak out against domestic violence on women at a rally in Brisbane’s Queens Park.Photo: Tony Moore

Queensland government figures show 306 people go to shelters every night, up from 250 people three years ago.

Safe Haven Community works with people who are not facing direct physical threats and before the problems fester, he said.

“Those people have no support, because they are not ‘emergency enough’,” he said.

“It is like they have to wait until they are ‘emergency enough’ before any agency can help.”

Safe Haven wants to stop people from becoming domestic violence victims by helping them exit abusive relationships.

“The people who donate the rooms and the houses are all police-checked and ready to go and inducted,” Mr Ferry said.

“We do police checks, we do interviews with the people volunteering the rooms and we do an induction process,” he said.

“We make sure we understand the motives of the people that are offering up their rooms.

The private rooms cost about $25 a night or $175 a week.

Mr Ferry said Safe Haven Community was starting small, but hoped to grow to an Australia-wide network.

“First things first,” he said. “We have to walk before we can learn how to run. We are growing slowly into the south-east Queensland corner, but over the next 12 months, we will be putting a big push on a national roll-out.”

Brian Sullivan from Logan’s Youth and Family Service said the organisation spoke with 75 men each work ordered to complete a 16 week domestic violence program as part of their probation.

He said the courses need to be reconsidered to become a useful domestic violence circuit-breaker.

He also added some men were just ticking the box and getting their court clearance.

“You just don’t break through their denial in three months,” Mr Sullivan said.

“I’ve worked in America and we had six-month programs over there. In the States they have 18-month programs.

“I think Queensland needs to get serious if we want to make a real difference.

“I believe we are lifting the lid (on domestic violence) but it is hard.

“I think a lot of men do want to change their behavior, but we are short-changing them the way to do it.”

Safe Haven Community inquries to www.safehavencommunity.com.au

Read the full article on the Brisbane Times website HERE

Article by:

Tony Moore

Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times

For assistance in finding or registering a room,
call 18 000 HAVEN (1800 042 836)

We need your support

We rely on community support to grow this business

As a community, we can all be responsible for helping people be safe and happy

Make a donation

Your donations help us prevent domestic violence. Please donate an affordable amount on a monthly basis to help us grow this service. Thank you 🙂

We need spare rooms

Provide a Safe Haven in your home. Be one of the first 500 Safe Haven Community Accommodation Providers across Australia.


Get more information first

There are many things to consider and we want to make sure you fully understand what you are signing up for. Don’t worry, we have a team of experts that are here to help you. Please call us if you have any questions so we can guide you through the process.

Call 18 000 HAVEN
(1800 042 836)

Contact Us





Get news updates delivered straight to your inbox!