Our Story

Our History

In 2005, the East Gippsland Healing Service model and Implementation Plan was developed in collaboration with the auspice, what is now Gippsland Lakes Complete Health (GLCH) and the Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Group (now Dhelk Dja East Gippsland Regional Action Group) in consultation with Aboriginal people, families, ACCHO’s, mainstream services and Elders across the five Aboriginal communities within East Gippsland and Wellington shires. YWAHS acknowledges and thanks the Elders and respected persons from the Lakes Aboriginal community, who provided advice and support for the establishment of this service.

At that time family violence within our local Aboriginal communities was increasing and in our region, the number of incidents of violence and child protection notifications were amongst the highest in the state and signalled a need to identify underlying issues that impacted and triggered these incidents, improve access to services, identify gaps, raise the awareness and prevalence of family violence, so it improved the communities understanding, provide significant and appropriate services and supports to assist individuals, families and communities across Wellington and East Gippsland region to identify and respond to family violence.

Subsequently, the East Gippsland Healing Service, under the auspice of GLCH, commenced operations in late 2005 in Lakes Entrance. In 2006, local Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners gave the Healing Service a language name ‘Yoowinna Wurnalung’, meaning ‘Our Safe Place’.

On 1st July 2019 the service transitioned into an independent organisation, Yoowinna Wurnalung Aboriginal Healing Service Ltd has strong leadership and governance, that is driven by self-determination practices and principles to ensure that the services provided are safe, effective and community-driven to meet the needs and aspirations of our clients, families and communities.

The Healing Service commenced operations delivering family violence education and prevention programs and activities. As community awareness of the service grew, trust and relationships developed, and community members who experienced family violence, or whose families experienced family violence, requested assistance and support from the Healing Service rather than referrals to mainstream services and organisations. The Clinical support arm has grown, and staff were encouraged to undertake further training and development to meet the needs of our growing clientele.

YWAHS provides programs and services that support Aboriginal Elders, women, children, young people, men and same-sex couples affected by family violence. YWAHS provides advocacy, counselling, support, referrals, prevention & education activities and information, and social recreational and cultural activities.

We have been successful in recruiting additional qualified clinical and therapeutic staff, with Social Work, AOD, Dual Diagnosis and Mental Health experience, which has increased our capacity to provide wrap-around supports and services to individuals, their families and community members as part of their recovery.

YWAHS Strategic Plan

YWAHS Organisational Chart


Delivering Family Violence Services in East Gippsland and Wellington

Lakes Entrance

11 Heatherlea Grove
PO Box 590Lakes Entrance Victoria 3909
Phone: (03) 4110 2100
Email: healingservice@ywahs.org.au


16b Wade Court
Sale Victoria 3850


107 Hazeldene Crescent
Nicholson Victoria 3882


14 Giles St
Bairnsdale Victoria 3875