Sanne is a single woman and self-referred after looking on the internet for services to help her after a sexual assault. She contacted the on-call service and the worker did an assessment and continued to work with her after the initial phone call. Sanne was supported to report this incident to the Police and attend the local hospital, so documentation of the assault could occur.
Sanne disclosed a long history of severe DV to the caseworker and this was also reported with the help of her caseworker. Police were quite dismissive at this point and Sanne was overwhelmed and wanted to withdraw all the reports as she didn’t feel believed. Her caseworker worked hard and challenged the Police and due to Sanne’s trust in her caseworker, she decided to proceed.
She attended all groups and her confidence and self-esteem grew week by week. The perpetrator pled not guilty to all charges, so it needed to go to trial. The caseworker attended court with her every day and supported her after she was attacked by the defence and made terrible accusations about her morals and character. The caseworker talked through all the terrible things her ex-partner said about her on the stand. She was with Sanne when he was found guilty on all charges and celebrated with her.
The caseworker attended the sentencing with her and he was sentenced to two years with a non-parole period of 18 months. Without the support of our service, the perpetrator would not have been held to account and may have moved on to another woman and continued this behaviour. Also, Sanne would not have gained the confidence and self-esteem to stand up for herself.
Jenny was referred to Outreach in November 2020. She had been experiencing ongoing domestic violence from her husband. Jenny was married for 16 years and for roughly 14 years of the marriage she was subject to domestic violence.
Jenny had three children. Jenny’s husband was verbally, emotionally and mentally abusive and controlling. When Jenny informed her husband that she would no longer live this way the verbal violence escalated and to physical abuse and the police were called on numerous occasions over a period of months.
Upon engagement with our staff, Jenny and her mother (who she lives with) both had a provisional AVO taken out on the husband for protection. Police were having difficulty serving the AVO and her ex-husband was continually parking up the road for the house around school pick up. With staff encouragement and support and the strength and determination from Jenny, the police were called informed of his whereabouts. Jenny’s husband attended the property begging Jenny to reconsider ending their marriage and begging Jenny take him back. Jenny’s husband was regularly harassing her for over hour outside her home. Police were called and able to arrive in time to serve him with the AVO.
Staff worked alongside Jenny and her mother to stay calm and strong during this time. Staff applied for Victims Services assistance for safety upgrades such as cameras and security windows. Jenny was granted $5000 to complete the security upgrades. This helped ease some of Jenny’s anxiety around her safety and the safety of the children.
Staff support Jenny at her upcoming court appearances and were able to help Jenny navigate the complex legal system. A referral was made for Jenny to access Legal Aid to put parenting arrangements in place. A referral was made for Jenny’s older children to access children’s counselling and Jenny accesses counselling through our specialist DV Counsellor
Kathy, an Aboriginal mum and her 5 children were referred to Wirrawee Gunya from Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) as she had a long history with the service due to extensive domestic violence reports.
The Aboriginal mum was met at the children’s school by a worker from DCJ and was advised that she had to leave her property today or the children would be removed. DCJ arranged temporary accommodation for the family until they contacted Wirrawee Gunya and made the referral for emergency accommodation support.
Upon entering the refuge, 3 of eldest children were prone to frequent abusive and violent outbursts due to the behaviours they were exposed to by the children’s father. The relationship between the mum and her children was fragile and needed supports in place to mend and grow to be a happier and healthier one.
When working with caseworkers from the refuge, it was identified that the client needed additional supports with caring for her children, so staff arranged for a full-time support worker to assist mum and the children with caring responsibilities. This full-time worker was able to provide additional structure and supports after hours and on the weekends.. This supported the client in improving her parenting skills.
Kathy did not fully comprehend the toxic relationship that she was in or the effects it had on her children, her parenting and her own self-esteem. Staff arranged for Kathy to attend a domestic violence group. The group work helped Kathy realise that the life she was living was not normal, this knowledge was empowering, and she became very engaged in the program. There was noticeable change in her self-esteem. After the DV Group Kathy joined a social group with other women who had lived experience of domestic violence.
Staff spent time with the children so Kathy could take turns at having individual time with each child to mend and build their relationships further. Staff arranged appointments with paediatricians and other relevant specialist to meet the health needs of the children.
Kathy wanted to return to the area in where she had her family supports. Staff advocated with the Department of Housing to secure long-term housing for her and the children. She was placed on the emergency priority list and after 7 months was provided with a suitable home for her and the children in the area that she wanted.
With the support of the staff, the client’s case was closed with DCJ and the family was linked in with additional supports. Without the comprehensive support of DV West it is likely the children would have been removed. Instead Kathy and her 5 children are all together and they are no longer living with the threat of violence.
DV After Hours
I presented to your service in October 2019, every aspect of my life had fallen apart, I had just fled the state of Tasmania from a violent ex-partner and his brother, after an altercation which has left me scarred for life. I had lost care of my children due to the domestic violence, I was homeless, scared, and was too broken to be able to put what I was feeling into words. My mental health was out of control and I had been taking drugs to take the pain away. I also had outstanding Criminal Law matters in Tasmania.
I ceased taking drugs on the 21st October 2019 and have been clean and living a life free of drugs ever since.
With the support and strong advocacy skills of the DV West workers we managed to navigate our way through Housing and I secured a rental property at Windsor, however due to Tasmania Police releasing that address to my ex-partner, the After Hours team worked tirelessly to get me into one of your transitional properties in Penrith to again assure mine and my children’s safety.
They supported me to find a good GP that was able to communicate effectively between all of my specialists and actually be able to move forward instead of continuously going around in circles, my mental health is now stable and have learnt a number of different strategies to be able to cope and manage.
The staff supported me and helped me through the court process in Tasmania to get PFVO and AVO’s in place against the perpetrators. They also supported me throughout the finalisation of my criminal law matters and thank you largely to a letter of support from DV West staff and clean drug urinalysis and hair follicle testing, I was given a 2 year good behaviour bond.
In February 2020, I started Cert IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs, I finally feel like I have a purpose, I’d always felt a strong need to help other people, but through this course I am continuously learning the right way and how I can help other people, I created a project that involved developing a website that allows individuals and their families affected by AOD, to be able to share their stories and be given a voice. With the help of my AOD class the website, time2bheard.com was launched a couple of weeks ago and will remain an ongoing project, I have also completed 10 online training courses in addition to attending TAFE, relevant to the community services sector some of these include Triple P Parenting Program, Child Protection and Reportable Workplace Conduct, Understanding Men’s Violence Against Women, Trauma Basic’s for Youth Workers, Comorbidity – Management of co-occurring AOD and Mental Health conditions. I have a dream of helping people turn their lives around from AOD and Domestic violence.
I have also progressed in my family law matters involving my 2 eldest children and have satisfied the ICL acting for the children that I can now again provide them with a stable, safe and loving environment, we are going to mediation to draw up orders of consent for my 2 eldest children next week. I am in the process of lodging a notice of risk and an urgent application to the Family Law Courts in Hobart to have my youngest son returned to my care.
I look back over what I have managed to achieve in the past 9 months and am amazed by how far I have come, I feel like I have got my life back, I actually have hopes and dreams again but I know I couldn’t have turned my life around without the support and guidance that DV West has given me, particularly the time and efforts of the After Hours team. They are the most amazing, non-judgmental, supportive, empowering women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting
Wendy and her five children were referred to DV West by Link2Home, after Wendy phoned seeking help to relocate away from her violent husband. Wendy reported years of living in an abusive relationship where she experienced bullying and controlling behaviour. Her ex-husband used the technique of putdowns to make Wendy feel worthless and maintain control over her and was verbally abusive towards her and the children. Regularly calling them repulsive names. Wendy said she ‘worked hard to keep the peace’ and was treading on eggshells throughout the relationship for fear of her children being harmed. Wendy had no say in how the house was kept for herself or her children. She said that she was totally isolated because she felt ashamed to have friends and no one visited her home because the perpetrator kept animals in the house against Wendy’s will and the family were forced to live in squalor.
Since engaging with DV West in an Outreach capacity the trajectory of Wendy’s life has changed. The service was able to assist Wendy to obtain Start Safely (a subsidy which helps people secure private rental accommodation, so they do not have to return to the violent situation). DV West advocated strongly with the local real estate to secure her a property for the family which they have now moved into and are becoming settled. We made referrals for the family for counselling, legal information and family support. We also supported Wendy to receive compensation for the trauma she had experienced through Victims of Crime.
Made possible through donations, we were able to offer Wendy to go on a break. When we offered Wendy the opportunity of a short holiday she was overjoyed. Wendy said that the family would love to go to the beach as she had never had a holiday with her children. Because of a generous donation we were able to organise for Wendy to take her Mum along with her to support her with the children and we provided Coles vouchers and fuel vouchers to assist with any additional expenses.
Being engaged with DV West has been a positive experience for this family as we were able to assist them to relocate to a new area and they are now safe and happy and looking forward to a new chapter in their lives. Also, having the opportunity of a holiday together to have fun and enjoy their time together helped to re-establish their relationships and create positive new memories to reduce the trauma and the impact of the past events.