Muslim Women Association

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Muslim Women Support Centre

ABC News Story: Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence is a whole community responsibility and great partnerships are being developed within the wider Australian Muslim community that are serious about approaching this issue in a cooperative and sustainable way.

This ABC News Report by Danuta Kozaki, Senior Reporter ABC News, aired on the 2nd March 2014 discusses this issue and that domestic violence is no longer being seen as a women's issue and the work that is being done in the community.

Please click here to watch the News Report (1 min 55 sec).


SBS Radio Story: "Inside a Muslim women's refuge in Sydney"

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Naomi Selvaratnam of SBS News Radio goes into the MWA's refuge, known as the Muslim Women's Support Centre (MWSC), which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary.



From SBS Radio:

"This is Part 1 of a two-part series highlighting how migrant and refugee women in particular are being affected by a severe shortage of crisis accommodation for domestic violence victims.

(Transcript from World News Radio)

It's a place very few people are allowed to see... and most would hope to never encounter.

Domestic violence refuges are concealed in suburbs throughout Australia, and are tightly guarded.

But one crisis accommodation provider for mainly migrant and refugee women has allowed Naomi Selvaratnam rare access to daily life in their refuge..."

To listen to Part 1 or read the transcript please click here.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 15:26

SBS Radio Interview on Domestic Violence

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Summary of interview with client of the Muslim Women's Association on SBS Radio Arabic on 19 February 2014



Q: When did the violence in your relationship start?


A: It began from very early on in my marriage, from my honeymoon, but I was not aware or confident enough to save myself from the situation I was in, and protect myself. There is a view in society says just put up with it, be patient, and think that you must have played a part.


But I say to every woman who goes through this, turn your back to this horrid community perception, and strengthen yourself, and stand up for yourself, so that you can save yourself and your life and leave the bad situation you are living in.  You do not deserve to be treated like this, you don't have to go through it, your children don’t have to see you going through this.


Q; Was there a reason for the abuse? You mentioned that this started early, from the honeymoon, were there any indications that this man was violent?


A: No, not at all. There were no indications in the beginning whatsoever. This sort of a person doesn't even have to have a justification, this is just the way this person is.


It's not even right to give a justification for violence, there is no justification for violence and abuse.


I am a peaceful person, and I like to live with the people around me in peace. My husband, the main person that I engage with in my life, we should be living in peace, and safety, in all religions, all laws, all nationalities, this is something expected. But this wasn't the case for me, and there was no reational reasoning behind the abuse.


Q: You mentioned the negative social view on Domestic Violence, does this affect the woman, even if she stood on her own two feet and said I'm not going to put up with this anymore, does this negative opinion continue even after the woman has sought help?


A: Yes, unfortunately there are still some parts of the community where the woman is blamed, its very hard for a woman to think of herself as separated or divorced, to cause trouble in her marriage. But I say to any woman going through Domestic Violence in her life, turn your back to these negative comments, and strengthen yourself, because these people will be of no benefit to you in your life.


Q: You married in Egypt, after a short time of getting to know each other, and then you came to Australia. What things did you actually experience? Was there restriction of freedom, physical abuse, emotional abuse?


A: When I first got married I had very little awareness of the reality of what I was doing. I was looking at this one dimensional, it was all new and shiny, and I didn't realise that glass shines and glistens but it also easily shatters. The abuse began, and I began to realise that this was his only language of communication. Really, there is no understanding through violence, but this was the language he would use.


Al types of abuse and violence, physical, emotional, financial, limiting my freedom, taking my mobile phone, isolating me from going places and talking to people, not talking to my family so I don't tell them about my situation. Hitting, serious physical abuse, where I could barely defend myself.

Then I had to think, I have kids, I didn't bring them into this world to see me go through this, I want them to be righteous, good people. I want to raise them well.  How can I expect to do this if they see me unable to defend myself and stand up for myself?


I started by saying that you have no right to raise your hand at me, you have no right to raise your voice at me, I haven't done anything that warrants this. And this would take him by surprise. He didn't want me to know my rights, but I started to learn my rights. I am living in a country that does not allow this. My religion does not allow this. And when I knew this I had the courage to stand up and say no, I am not going to go on like this, I have my life, a life that I want to live in peace with my children. My children were witness to the violence, and I took this stance of standing up and saying no, that I'm not going to continue on like this, for my children, so they were no longer affected by this.


Q: Do you think there is enough support from the Australian government?


A: Well something that was delaying my step to stand up for myself, was the negative view I had of a refuge. That this place would be awfully crowded, untidy, not a place that I would want my kids to be in. But the reality is the complete opposite. The government needs to continue to support places like this refuge I am staying in, and al their initiatives.  If it were not for the refuge, what would have happened to me? Where would I be? And what about my children?


The people that are here, from the moment they welcomed me in, they said, say goodbye to all your worries, they removed my burdens.


I did not take this final stance, of actually leaving, till I had exhausted all other means with my husband, to live a peaceful and safe life. If I had remained then my life would have been even worse.


Finally, I just want to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to the women here in the refuge and the Muslim Women's Association. They are the most amazing women, they made us feel that they are our family that we have so deeply missed, they relieved us of our isolation, these women who sacrifice from their own lives, so that they can provide us with all our rights, encourage us to stand on our own two feet, they have completely transformed our lives.


The complete interview can be found on the SBS Arabic Radio Website:

Please Note: The interview is in Arabic

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 15:32

Muslim Women Support Centre

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The United Muslim Women Association Incorporated is a Community based Welfare Organization established in 1983 to cater to the Welfare, Social, Education, Religious and Recreational needs of Muslim Women of all backgrounds. The Association, through its members and staff provide a wide range of services to Muslim Women such as counselling, information and referrals, advocacy and crisis accommodation.

Muslim Women Support Centre (MWSC)

The Muslim Women Support Centre has been in operation since 1988. The project was set up by the Muslim Women Association after funding was granted by the Department of Family and Community Services, previously known as Department of Community Services. The service is funded by the State and Federal Government under SAAP (Supported Accommodation Assistance Program).

The service emphasises the right of women to have access to information and to be aware of their rights under both Islamic and Australian Law.

MWSC has been used as a model in other overseas countries and the work carried out by our Centre has received a lot of acknowledgements and support from all level of government and non-government services and the community.

Mission Statement

MWSC is a non-profit service that offers non institutional, non-judgmental programs and activities. MWSC operates 24 hour crisis/supported accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence or in crisis.


MWSC operates within the framework of Islamic Principles.  The philosophy of MWSC is to provide a quality service where women and children can feel safe, secure and be encouraged to gain information and access to resources that allow them to feel empowered to make decisions pertaining to them and therefore take control of their lives.

Intake Criteria

Our intake criteria is NON discriminatory and ensures access to services for women and children escaping domestic violence, regardless of ethnicity; fluency in English; cultural beliefs; financial hardships; immigration status.


Most referrals come to us via Government and non government agencies. Self referrals can be made by contacting our social support workers directly.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 17:22

MWSC Annual Report 2013

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Click here to download the 2013 Annual Report for the Muslim Women Support Centre

Last Updated on Friday, 10 January 2014 13:52

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