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About Us

Why Impact exists

Impact exists to make a difference to Victorian women and children escaping extreme violence at home. We do this by providing gifts and services that are practical, grassroots and common-sense. By doing so, we are creating a more caring and compassionate society one woman, one child, one Bag of Love, one gift, one donation, one handwritten note at a time.

1 in 3 Australian women will experience some form of physical abuse in their life time. The stats for men are worse: it’s 1 in 2.

The difference though, is that while most male abuse is at the hands of an acquaintance or stranger, most female abuse is at the hands of someone who once said, ‘I love you’, or from a trusted friend or professional.​

On average, one woman is killed every week by a current or former intimate partner. In recent years, MORE than one woman a week has been killed by a current or former intimate partner or close family member.

Our Origin Story

For almost 20 years, Impact has been operating from Melbourne, to suppor women and children throughout Victoria to escape extreme violence at home. A completely volunteer-run organisation, our goal is simple – offer practical support in meaningful ways to women and children in crisis, while advocating for societal change.

A simple idea that grew and came to life.

That realisation sparked a simple yet powerful idea – to offer a small token of kindness to these women, something that would remind them that even in their darkest time, someone cared. Mistakenly believing that, on any given night in Victoria, there were around 100 women who had escaped from domestic violence and were in hiding, she set out to let every one of them know someone was thinking of them.

Kathy, with the support of 12 friends assembled 100 small gift boxes filled with Rocky Road chocolates generously provided by The Chocolate Box together with a handwritten note. These boxes were then distributed to the refuges Kathy knew were assisting domestic violence victim-survivors. The true impact of that gesture became evident when thank-you notes began pouring in. One read, “This was the first Mother’s Day gift I ever received… which did not include a black eye.”

And so, Impact for Women was born – unintentionally, driven by a simple idea that grew and came to life, like a seed into a blossoming plant.

A beacon of hope.

In its early days, the core idea behind Impact was straightforward:
Bring hope to women who had escaped extreme violence at home and were living in hiding.
Provide those things we take for granted… like a toothbrush and toothpaste for instance.

While refugees have become better resourced and equipped since 2006 (but still not enough) the harsh realities faced by survivors of severe abuse and homelessness persist. Today, Impact’s Bags of Love continue to provide a beacon of hope and a reminder that things can improve. In doing so, they also continue to bring smiles to the faces of these brave and resilient women.

The stark reality, and the beautiful results.

As other refugees hear about Impact’s generosity and ask for Impact’s support too, Impact came to realise that the number of women in refuge as a direct result of extreme domestic violence was far greater than 100. At any given time, there are at least 2,500 Victorian women and their children, hiding in a refuge.

But with understanding of the gravity of the situation and the value of their impact, the charity that began in a living room has grown to meet the challenge. The 12 friends became nearly 2,000 volunteers of all ages, genders, religions and abilities wanting to make a positive difference in the life of a woman or child who has undergone devastating violence.

As Impact and its offerings have changed and evolved over time, one thing remains constant: its unwavering purpose, mission and vision. Impact may have grown and adapted, but its commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of women in need has never wavered.


Everyone enjoys fulfilled lives free from fear and violence


By providing gifts and services with dignity, impact helps its recipients envision the possibility of a happier and safe future.


At Impact we are..

TEA principal champions

(Transparent, Ethical and Accountable)


Annual report

Impact’s Annual Report outlines our key goals, performance, and finances over the latest annual period, including a summary of major achievements and support from volunteers.

Download our latest annual report below.

With transparency at the core of Impact’s values, our annual report provides key insights into our operations and accounts, as well as next steps for the future.

See Annual Report from previous years

ImpactHOUSE launched
“The van is life-changing for the operation of our charity.”

May 17, 2022

view on australianjewishnews.com

ImpactHOUSE launched
“The van is life-changing for the operation of our charity.”

May 17, 2022

view on australianjewishnews.com

Impact News


Impact for Women has spread the message about the plight and issues of women and children escaping domestic violence for many years. Click below to see some of Impact’s coverage in the media. 


Impact’s board comprises passionate individuals dedicated to ending Domestic Violence for Women and Children and providing services to help victim-survivors of Family & Domestic Violence.

Kathy Kaplan OAM

Founder & President

The daughter of a holocaust survivor, Kathy is a self-professed learning-junkie. Originally a secondary Maths/English teacher who spent most of her teaching career in Far North Queensland working with Aboriginal and Islander adolescents, Kathy has spent the better part of her professional life working in the fields of educational management and fundraising.