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There is always a path to safety: Tahnee* and her 4 children’s story

19 year old Tahnee* was highly distressed when she spoke to the Womensline Counsellor. She was terrified that her partner would come to her neighbour’s house where she was calling from and force her and her 4 children to return home.

Tahnee’s partner’s violence had escalated since the birth of her child only 3 weeks earlier and she needed to get her and her 4 children, all under the age of 10, to safety. With hardly any belongings and no place to stay, the Womensline Counsellor and Support Worker worked as a team, always having one person on the phone with Tahnee while the other contacted a local Women’s Centre so Tahnee could receive some face to face counselling and practical support. After DVConnect transported Tahnee and her children to the Women’s Centre, the Womensline Counsellor worked closely with the staff at the Centre to ensure Tahnee didn’t have to re-tell her story to various services.

The Womensline Counsellor then organised emergency motel accommodation for Tahnee and her children. While in motel accommodation, a Womensline Counsellor called Tahnee to see how she and the kids were. Tahnee said she felt supported and safe and had been visited in the motel by a staff member from the Women’s Centre who gave her children’s clothes, nappies, food and some toys. This really helped because when Tahnee escaped her home, she had to leave almost everything behind.

Tahnee said she felt deeply appreciative of the swift support she received through a coordinated service response which had been facilitated by DVConnect. Tahnee and her children were later able to go into a high security refuge where they would receive support to get back up on their feet.

DVConnect has many positive working relationships with partner agencies across Queensland. These relationships are particularly valuable in remote and regional areas where DVConnect is fortunate to work with partner organisations that have resources and local expertise. These relationships have proven to be essential for supporting women with basic material aid, face to face support, and even a safe place to sit with a cup of tea for a couple of hours.

*Name and location have been changed to protect our client’s identity.

Domestic Violence doesn’t discriminate: Xanthe’s* Story

Xanthe* called DVConnect very unsure of what to expect from us. Xanthe said that she was a devout Christian and the thought of leaving her husband was distressing. She was concerned about the type of advice she would receive from someone who was not a Christian and therefore could not understand her situation.

The counsellor reassured Xanthe that after their talk, she would be the one making the decision about her life and that all DVConnect would do is provide her information, options for her to consider, and support if she wanted it.

Xanthe was well educated, financially secure and lived in an area where there wasn’t thought to be any domestic violence. But domestic and family violence doesn’t discriminate. It occurs in all communities an impacts all kinds of people. Xanthe also held a very high position as a Financial Advisor for a large firm in town and was married to a highly connected man which meant leaving him was not only frightening because of his control over her but she also felt shame about her work, social circle and church finding out.

She said, “No one will believe that he could do that to me not even the pastor. He presents so well”. A Safety Plan was put in place between the Womensline Counsellor and Xanthe and part of the Safety Plan was that if Xanthe needed further help from DVConnect, she would call. Three weeks later Xanthe called DVConnect to say that she would be leaving that night and needed our help. We supported Xanthe to safety so she could live a life free from violence and abuse.

*Name and location have been changed to protect our client’s identity.

A special bond: Amara* and Bella’s* story

Amara* had been in a relationship with an abusive partner for 7 years. She had been in contact with DVConnect’s Womensline in the past for counselling, support and information. Now Amara contacted Womensline seeking immediate assistance to get to safety.

Amara had a 4 year old rescue chihuahua named Bella* that she would not leave behind in an unsafe home. Part of the abuse that Amara’s partner had inflicted on her included tormenting Bella and threatening to kill Bella if Amara ever left him. The idea of leaving Bella behind had been a huge barrier in her previously accessing DVConnect services beyond counselling and support.

The Womensline Counsellor that Amara spoke with explained the Pets in Crisis program with the RSPCA QLD for women and their pets who have experienced domestic or family violence. Although initially reluctant to part with Bella for any extended period of time, Amara recognised how the Pets in Crisis program could support her and Bella to safety.

On the same day that Amara contacted Womensline, she received an appointment at a nearby RSPCA that participated in the Pets in Crisis program. Amara signed all documents that ensured Bella would be safe in foster care over a period of a month and then Amara was assisted by DVConnect into emergency motel accommodation and then refuge.

Amara was later reunited with Bella.

*Name and location have been changed to protect our client’s identity.

Journey to healing: Daisy’s* Story

A police station in Far North Queensland referred Daisy*, a First Nations woman, to DVConnect. Daisy was a young person who had been experiencing domestic and family violence from her partner of 6 months and the violence had escalated recently.

The Police advised that although Daisy’s partner was currently being detained, there was a high likelihood he would be released within 24 hours. And due to living in a small, remote community, her partner lived in close proximity to her family’s home. Daisy required urgent assistance to get to safety.

When Daisy spoke to Womensline, she said she had a safe family member who lived in another town who she could stay with. However, Daisy didn’t have a contact number for them. Before we could organise transport to this safe relative, we needed to know that they would allow her to stay with them. With Daisy’s consent, we coordinated with local Police to contact the family member and confirm they were happy to have Daisy come to stay with them.

Having confirmed Daisy could stay with her relative who lived outside of town, the Womensline team booked Daisy on the next available flight and local Police assisted Daisy to the airport. Daisy arrived safely at her extended family’s home.

UPDATE

It’s been a few years since Daisy relocated and she has stayed connected to her culture. She also achieved her goal of graduating from TAFE and now works a full time job.

The collaborative action between DVConnect and local remote Police supported Daisy, who had experienced significant trauma, to live a safe life and start her journey of healing. Daisy’s survivor story says it all about how important it is to respond swiftly and collaboratively to complex circumstances, while also including culturally sensitive and appropriate practice. Daisy was relocated within 24 hours of the Police referral to DVConnect.

*Name and location have been changed to protect our client’s identity.

Refuge is not the only option: Lynette’s* Story

A Social Worker from a regional hospital contacted DVConnect’s Womensline about a patient who had been a victim of ongoing domestic violence. Lynette* was in her late 60’s and had been experiencing abuse from her husband who was also her Carer.

Lynette was financially dependent on her husband and had no access to money. Lynette also had mobility issues (due to her disability) and injuries from a combination of neglect and abuse by her husband. Lynette needed a safe place that could also meet her care needs.

In working closely with the Hospital Social Work team, DVConnect were able to identify that Lynette had an adult son who lived interstate and wanted to help. While Lynette was in hospital, her son set his house up so that she could come and live with him.

Due to Lynette being unable to travel or live independently, DVConnect assisted Lynette’s son to Queensland to pick his mother up from the hospital. DVConnect then assisted Lynette and her son to her son’s home interstate.

Refuge is not the only option DVConnect provides to women. We want to create a pathway to safety for every person who calls us. And that looks different for each client. Support networks are essential for survivors of violence and abuse.

*Name and location have been changed to protect our client’s identity.

We’re strongest when we work together: Deema’s* Story

DVConnect’s Womensline received a call from a Hospital Social Worker seeking safe accommodation for a patient. The patient, Deema* had been admitted following a domestic violence incident.

Deema was a transgender woman who was deaf and non-verbal. Deema could communicate via written notes or text messages but she didn’t have a phone. Deema was also in Australia on a tourist visa which expired 2 days earlier. She wanted to return to her country of origin but the person using violence had taken her passport to prevent her from leaving.

The hospital Social Worker and other medical staff, we were able to facilitate an extended hospital admission for Deema to give the Womensline team enough time to coordinate support for her.

We worked with Deema and the Embassy from her country of origin to secure a visa and passport as a matter of priority. We also sourced a WESNET phone for her and Centacare delivered this phone to Deema in the hospital. Once Deema had the phone set up and was medically discharged, we booked her into emergency motel accommodation and assisted her with travel to the motel.

DVConnect worked very closely with the Embassy and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to support Deema. Deema’s documentation was confirmed within 2 business days and Deema was promptly on a flight home to her mother. The collaboration and coordination facilitated by DVConnect meant that Deema was on her way home within 4 days of her first contact with us.

The next day, the Womensline team received an email from the Embassy Consular of Deema’s Embassy stating: “this is amazing TEAMwork”. We also received a text message from Deema who told us that she was so happy to be reunited with her mother and she thanked us for all of the support that we provided to assist her to safety.

DVConnect’s strengths lie in our ability to respond quickly, think laterally and act collaboratively, to provide an individualised and sensitive response to women seeking safety.

*Name and location have been changed to protect our client’s identity.

All women deserve to feel safe at home: Maddie* and her twins Story

Maddie* was a young woman living on one of the islands in the Torres Strait. She lived with her partner, their twin girls and his family. Maddie’s family were from another island, so she had no supports close by when her partner assaulted her.

Although Maddie’s partner fled the home after the assault in order to evade Police, she knew he would eventually return home and she and her twins would be unsafe again. So the next day, she went to a health clinic with her girls.

At the clinic, Maddie was connected with DVConnect’s Womensline. She told the Counsellor that she wanted to be with her family on the other Island as she and her twins would be safe there. Her family agreed so DVConnect arranged a flight for Maddie and her twins, departing the following morning.

The health clinic agreed to look after Maddie and her twins with the help of the local community Police who would protect them until she was safely on the plane.

DVConnect arranges up to four flights a week from remote parts of the State including the Torres Strait, Gulf region. Because all women deserve to feel safe at home.

*Name and location have been changed to protect our client’s identity.

Thank you DVConnect for saving my Mums life, and mine. You guys getting us out of there changed everything. Thank you so much. Life is good now! 

Our survivor has chosen to remain anonymous.

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How your donation will help

  • Provides operational support to fund our bridging accommodation residence Bella's Sanctuary.
  • Provides emergency transport and accommodation for Queenslanders in crisis due to domestic and family violence.
  • Provides safety planning, crisis counselling and information to those impacted by domestic and family violence.
  • Educates Queenslanders on how to help family, friends and colleagues who have experienced, or are experiencing domestic and family violence.