In June 1984, the Refuge Ethnic Workers Program (REWP) was formed. The service began with 7 part-time ethnic workers, a full time coordinator, a part time finance worker and a range of sessional workers. The REWP found that women who did not seek refuge support, who chose to remain in their homes or who were not familiar with their right to seek support, were also in need of family violence services.
In 1994 the Refuge Ethnic Workers Program became the Immigrant Women’s Domestic Violence Services (IWDVS). This change marked an important step for the organisation. The role of IWDVS was now more complex. They were responsible for supporting clients and educating the community about the ways domestic violence, racism and culture impact migrant women. IWDVS continually advocated and lobbied to change community attitudes to violence against migrant women. IWDVS was able to successfully partner with other domestic violence services, migrant resource centres and ethno-specific organisations. At this point in time, they received nearly 11,000 calls a year.