In 1987 members of Melbourne’s refugee communities joined with a small group of medical and legal professionals and human rights organisations to convene a public meeting to discuss the provision of health services to survivors of torture.
A range of professionals became involved, and developed plans for a unique model – a hybrid that transcended discipline differences and would provide a range of approaches within a holistic service.
In 1988 two philanthropic trusts – The Myer Foundation and the Reichstein Foundation – provided seeding grants to explore the feasibility of a service for survivors of torture. This eventually led to government funding and one community development worker, Paris Aristotle, commenced work in a small house in Parkville.
Over the years that have followed, Foundation House has grown to become a world leader in the provision of services to survivors of torture and war related trauma. Today, the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture employs more than 200 people and provides services to more than 6000 survivors each year. It also provides training, consultancy and support for service providers in the health, education and welfare sectors.
The history of Foundation House is documented further in More Than Just Words which was produced in 2007 for the organisation’s 20th Anniversary. In 2017 we look forward to celebrating with our community as we mark thirty years in operation.