In the year 2021-2022, we supported a total of 1829 women and children

Case Studies


*Lucy was referred to DV West Nepean from a friend who had been supported by the service previously. Lucy had separated from her partner 3 months ago and had not seen her children since she left as her partner and the children’s father would not allow it. Lucy had been sleeping on a friend’s couch and borrowing clothes as she had left with almost nothing.

Lucy disclosed a long history of physical, sexual, financial and psychological abuse. Neighbours had called the Police and an AVO had been granted to protect Lucy.

Lucy also disclosed that she was self-medicating withalcohol and had recently lost her licence after she was charged for driving under the influence of alcohol. This was the reason that her ex-partner would not let her see the children. He said she was a drunk and not a fit mother.

Lucy told her case worker that she had been drinking while in the relationship but tried to stop drinking by joining AA. Lucy said she enjoyed the support from the meetings, and she was doing well and hadn’t had a drink in 2 months.

Lucy shared a car with her ex-partner and needed the vehicle to attend meetings, Lucy said he would come home late or hide the keys, so it was too late to get to meetings. Lucy said she felt helpless and soon she began to drink again trying to block out the violence.

Lucy was referred to Legal Aid by her case worker and she started the process of trying to see her children.

Lucy’s case worker secured a transitional property for Lucy and assisted her with setting up the property with a referral to Rizeup, They did a wonderful job of making a home for Lucy and her children.

Lucy was attending AA meetings and Drug and Alcohol counselling, and we could see an inner determination and strength developing.

Lucy completed the Domestic Violence Group and Parenting Group with DV West and was seeing her children 3 times a week. Lucy and her children attended social BBQ’s and we assisted with movie passes – it was wonderful to see Lucy and children making new memories together.

Lucy continued with her recovery and it has been a long court process but finally with all the information presented the Magistrate decided that the children should live with Lucy.
The Magistrate could see all the positive steps that Lucy had taken and part of that was seeking domestic violence support. Lucy’s case worker made a referral with a support letter to start safely, and she was approved.

She has secured a private rental property close to the children’s school and works 2 days a week.

Lucy has now completed one year of sobriety. She has her licence back and purchased a car, she continues to be supported by DV West which she calls her “safety net”.

*A different name is used to protect privacy


Lisa* is a mother of 2 sons (Patrick and Scott) who both have autism and high care needs. She was married to her husband Steve for 16 years. Lisa and her sons live with her mother Beverly. Lisa was referred to DV West through another crisis service.

After Lisa and Steve first separated, Steve continued to stalk and harass Lisa and a no contact AVO was taken out protecting Lisa. Steve continuously breached the AVO and continued to stalk Lisa. Originally the AVO only protected Lisa and Steve was still allowed to contact the children. As a result of this, Steve would phone the kids in the middle of the night, ringing an excessive number of times until Patrick would wake up and answer the phone.

With the support of Lisa’s DV West caseworker, Lisa went to court to have the AVO amended. Both of Lisa’s children were then added to the AVO, and Steve was not allowed within 500m of the home rather than the 100m it previously was. Steve then breached this varied AVO.

With the support of Lisa’s DV West caseworker, Lisa courageously reported this breach to the police. Steve was then charged with a breach of AVO and received 18 months community service.
Lisa said that thanks to the support and information she received from her caseworker, Lisa now no longer fears Steve. Lisa has said that she knows she has support in place and is aware of her rights and services to contact if she needs. Lisa’s final goal was to have her divorce finalised. After Steve delayed the divorce proceedings, Lisa was granted the divorce last month. She hasn’t heard from Steve since and she, her sons and mom Beverly are looking forward to moving on with their lives.

*A different name is used to protect privacy

DV After Hours

Legal Aid first referred Olivia* to DVWEST 4 years ago. Olivia was diagnosed with learning difficulties and cognitive disabilities at a young age and when both her parents and carers died relatively closely together, she was left to live with her brother and his family.

Her brother was abusive, and she soon found herself homeless and seeking support from our service. She came into the Jessie street refuge, participated in our DV Group, moved into one of our THP properties and was then supported to find her own private rental.

Unfortunately, the DV continued and during covid lockdowns things escalated for Olivia quite severely.

Olivia started calling through to our after hours team as she felt unsafe in her home due to her brother harassing her about property settlement. He was trying to swindle her out of her share of the family home and was turning up at her door threatening her. Our DVRE team supported her to call police and to try and access temporary accommodation. Some nights Olivia felt all she could do was sleep in the park to feel safe due to her brothers threats. It was during this time that DVRE took her on as an ongoing client. We referred her to legal aid for support and managed to get her a great lawyer who helped claim her share of the property.

During Covid Lockdowns there were times where suicide ideation became a significant threat for Olivia. As a team we safety planned and wrapped support around her, often daily. We called ambulances, supported her through self-harming events and engaged with her psychologist as we tried to navigate supporting her through some very challenging times. We could see that what was missing for Olivia was community. Her family had been her world, but her brother’s abuse took the last of her family away. She was struggling to find any sense of belonging. Together with Olivia and her psychologist we navigated NDIS submissions, re-submissions and approval. Now, Olivia is a social butterfly. It’s better than our team could have ever imagined. She goes to the movies, the beach, bingo, Wollongong, the city – she honestly doesn’t stop. She has a holiday planned soon and she has carers in her home, cooking with her, watching movies and offering her the companionship she has sought out for so long.

We are so happy that Olivia now has the support she needs and deserves in life. In Olivia’s words, “DV West were always there for me. They never let me down. On my worst days they were always there to pick me up. Alongside my therapist, they supported me to get NDIS funding and now I have the community I have always longed for. I have security and I feel supported”.

Wirrawee Gunya

An Aboriginal 20-year-old single woman was referred for crisis accommodation due to family violence that she was enduring with multiple family members.

The violence included verbal and emotional abuse which impacted her mental health and wellbeing resulting in medication to manage day to day living.

This Aboriginal woman had not lived independently before and had no supports besides the people that were violent towards her.

The Aboriginal woman entered our single woman’s refuge but was moved into Wirrawee Gunya shortly after to be supported by our local Aboriginal staff.

Our staff were strong advocates for the Aboriginal woman as she had no income and was having difficulty in accessing a payment from Centrelink due to not being able to provide sufficient evidence of the family violence. Staff were successful in arranging an income payment for the Aboriginal woman so that she was able to apply for affordable housing properties in the local area. Staff linked the Aboriginal woman with an Aboriginal employment provider where she found full time work that she enjoys.

A singles woman’s Transitional Housing property became available, and the Aboriginal woman was successful in obtaining the property to start her journey of healing and living a life free of violence.

The Aboriginal woman works closely with staff to understand the violence she endured as she believed that it was a normal thing that happened in families. She has grown as a woman and receives intensive support about life skills, safety, cultural support, and case management support.

Blue Mountains

Nina* is a 47 year old women with 2 children. She has suffered violence and abuse in her relationship since she became pregnant with her first child. The father of her children perpetrated the violence and abuse. When the children were young they were removed from Nina’s care due to their father’s violent behaviour. Nina managed to leave the perpetrator (Claude)* and after a period of 2 years regain the care of her children. Claude continued to re-enter Nina and the children’s life offering financial support and convincing Nina that the children needed contact with him. Claude continued to be abusive to Nina and the children during these engagements.

When Nina made contact with DV West she was living with her youngest son who was 13 at the time. Claude continued to attend the house without notice and was verbally and emotionally abusive. Nina explained that she suffered long term consequences of the physical, emotional, and mental abuse she had experienced.

She explained that she only left the house when she had to, and that she had chronic pain due to broken bones and injuries because of the physical abuse that Claude had inflicted on her. She also explained that her child were not attending school and she felt powerless to support him to attend. Nina explained that she was exhausted and could not live under this threat anymore.

Nina and her son moved into the refuge so that they could be safe, and a supportive case plan developed. This case plan included support to access medical care, victim services application and counselling, engagement and advocacy with her child’s school, NDIS application to gain developmental support for her child, referral to a legal service, emotional support and domestic and family violence information. After staying at the refuge for a few weeks Nina stated that she could feel an improvement in her mental and physical health, and she was taking her son to school each day.

Nina is currently living with her son in a DV West transitional property. Her child has NDIS support and is attending school. She is safe and has no contact with the perpetrator (Claude). She has stated that her world is so different now and that she has hopes and dreams for the future.

*A different name is used to protect privacy


Daphne* reported feeling highly anxious and having several panic attacks each week when she began counselling.

She noticed her anxiety escalating with the approach of her children’s contact with their father ordered by the family court.

The counsellor used domestic violence-informed and response-based practice to assist the client to identify the actions she was taking to keep herself and her children safe in the past and the present, and used Cognitive Behaviour Therapy approaches to manage unhelpful thinking that exacerbated anxiety symptoms.

The counsellor also normalised the client’s fears in the face of the abuse by the perpetrator and the systemic problems in the family law system in protecting children from abuse.

Daphne disclosed improvement in her sense of control. She reported capacity to respond thoughtfully instead of reacting with fear when her ex-partner communicated with her regarding parenting arrangement. She said she stopped making excuses for him when he disappointed the children not turning up or calling as arranged. She gained confidence exerting boundaries for her safety and her values.

*Names were changed to maintain confidentiality


Feedback About Our Service

  • “We (my children and I) were welcomed into the refuge with open arms, finally having somewhere safe, warm and comfortable where my children have structure and routine again and it is definitely the happiest, I have seen them in a very long time”.
  • “The refuge has given me space and safety and I can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to have my dog here with me. I was so scared to leave but this has been the best thing to ever happen to me and I am so grateful for you all and for a service such as DV West. You have literally saved my life.”
  • “Their expertise, seamless interagency collaboration with court advocacy, counselling service and sharing of knowledge were invaluable.”
  • “I find the service homely, and it has a good energy. My case worker is consistent, available and has a deep knowledge. She pushes me when I need to be pushed but there is always a balance of warmth. You have helped me change all aspects of me and my children’s lives. Thank you”
  • “This service changed me and my children’s life. My mother was in domestic violence so as a kid I grew up in this environment. I didn’t want my kids to grow up feeling like I did. My mum didn’t know there were services around, and I think if my mother and I had had support like I and my children are getting, my childhood would have been extremely better and safer”

Feedback About Our Case Workers

  • “When I get calls from the DV West worker I call them ‘kindness calls’. I can be in all my ‘rawness’ and meet the worker where I am at. It is such a stressful time so it would be hard for me to get in a car and drive somewhere – so to be able to speak with a worker on the phone has been so helpful.”
  • “I cannot thank you enough, you definitely are one in a million. I really don’t know where I would have ended up if it wasn’t for you and not giving up on me”.
  • “Thankyou so much for everything you have done. I don’t think you understand how important this was. You believed me when no one else did. You saw how dangerous he was and how I couldn’t simply make it all stop. Even the police couldn’t see it from my perspective, but you got it. I’m forever grateful”.
  • “God bless you again so much for all your support. You are truly one in a million. Thanks for your support through this last two years. I will be forever grateful to you. You were there in my hardest times, being my rock and keeping me strong. I cannot thank you enough”.
  • “I would never have left to begin a new life if it hadn’t been for you. I never had the confidence that I could do it on my own. You helped me believe I deserved more, and I was worthy of a good life. Thank you”