A Protem committee, headed by Puan Sri E.N. Chong, had its first meeting in November 1981. It took 9 months to lay the groundwork and to form a core group of volunteers. These pioneer volunteers worked as a collective to formulate the operating principles of self help and self empowerment for battered women who turned to WAO for help. In June 1982, WAO received temporary registration as a society and a single storey house was rented as WAO’s refuge and office premises. The Malay Mail published the first article about the planned Refuge. On a Saturday morning in September 1982, a call came in: “She has left her husband with her two children, could she stay for a while?” This woman and her two children were WAO’s first residents.