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Statement from the Board of Refuge Victoria

The board of Refuge Victoria would like to advise that after more than two years leading the organisation, Paula Piccinini has resigned as CEO. Paula achieved a great deal during her time at Refuge Victoria, focusing service provision on our core purpose of supporting those escaping family violence.

She led the renaming and rebranding of the Safe Futures Foundation to Refuge Victoria, which included a new vision, mission and website. Paula also completed an important organisational restructure, opened two new modern 24-hour refuge facilities and oversaw upgrades to many of our crisis properties.

She enhanced our internal processes and built a high performing management team who are well positioned to fulfil our goals whilst further growing and developing Victoria’s largest and most prominent refuge service provider. Paula will be handing over to Ellen Matusko,our interim CEO during this transition period. The Board thanks Paula for all of her hard work and valuable contributions and wishes her all the best for the future.

Paula Piccinini said:

“Since joining Refuge Victoria as CEO in November 2019, it has been an exhilarating ride building the capacity and profile of the organisation at a critical time for our emerging sector after the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

“Historically, Victoria’s family violence sector has been fragmented and under-funded. After significant reforms and growth funding from the State Government, Refuge Victoria now leads the sector with a professional team of almost 50 staff and capacity to house more than 150 people a night across 3 large refuge facilities, 15 crisis properties and 35 transitional homes spanning Melbourne’s east and west.

“I’m exceedingly proud of the great work achieved by all our dedicated staff who literally help save lives when victims of family violence are at their most vulnerable. I would also like to thank the board for their important contribution, particularly the late Doreen Stoves AM PSM JP.”