A group of Highlands women have decided to take action on domestic violence.
Co-workers at Barnados Australia, Erin Nichols and Danielle Johns, came up with an idea to help local women in need.
The Southern Highlands Association of Women, known as SHAW, was established in June 2018 by seven determined members of the community.
The goal was to raise funds to build a women's centre.
Through her work, Erin came into contact with a lot of women who experienced vulnerability. This was due to a range of reasons, family and domestic violence were the most common.
Erin found that women who sought emergency accommodation had to leave the region as there was no women's refuges or shelters located in the Southern Highlands.
"Between us we didn’t have the capacity to open a women’s shelter and fix the housing crisis but we could do something to help," Erin said.
"A lot of women hold down jobs and take their children to school but at night they couch surf or sleep in their cars.
"There isn't help here for them."
The women developed an idea to establish a space where people could come for a whole range of things, whether it be health checks, counselling or support.
"The centre would also provide material basics such as a washing machine, a dryer and a kitchen so that displaced mothers could come in and prepare lunches for their children," Erin said.
"Women would be able to cook dinner [at the centre] and take it home in a container, at most all they’ve currently got is a microwave in a hotel room."
The organisation aims to run fitness groups, mothers' clubs, yoga and be somewhere women around the region could go everyday.
On March 8, International Women's Day, SHAW was officially launched to the community.
The establishment of a women's centre is a long-term goal which will require sponsorship and funding.
In the short-term SHAW aims to hold workshops on budgeting, safe relationships and how to gain financial independence.
"It’s time we had something of our own," Erin said.
Visit www.shaw.org.au to make a donation and to join.