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Survivor Stories – Womensline

 

Survivor Story, Tahnee* & her 4 children

Tahnee* a 19 years old contacted the Womensline with concerns about her safety and the safety of her 4 children, all of whom were under the age of 10 years old. Having fled her house with her children and very limited belongings, Tahnee contacted us from her neighbours home and disclosed that the violence she was experiencing in the house she shared with her partner had escalated since the birth of her youngest child, only 3 weeks ago.

When Tahnee initially contacted the Womensline, she was highly distressed and she communicated that she was terrified that her partner would come over to the neighbour’s house and force her and the children to return to the property. The Womensline counsellor and counsellor support worker were able to work as a team to manage this situation as best they could, by having one person always on the phone with Tahnee whilst the other contacted the local Women’s Centre and organised a safe and supportive place for Tahnee and her children to be and receive some face to face counselling and support with the children that was deemed essential for Tahnee at this time. DVConnect organised transport for Tahnee and the children to the local Women’s Centre. DVConnect worked closely with the staff at the Women’s Centre to ensure that Tahnee didn’t have to re-tell her story to various services, and we organised emergency motel accommodation for her and her children. That evening once settled into the motel and when feeling a lot safer, Womensline staff commented that when they spoke with Tahnee it was like speaking to a different person. 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 so that she had more resources than what she had fled with. Tahnee was deeply appreciative of the prompt response and support she had received through a coordinated service response facilitated by DVConnect. Tahnee and her children were successfully referred onto high security Refuge accommodation.

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

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

 

Survivor Story, Xanthe

Xanthe* called DVConnect very unsure of what help she could expect from us. Xanthe said that she was a devout Christian and any thought of leaving her husband was so distressing for her to contemplate and was concerned about the type of advice she might receive from someone who is not a Christian. The counsellor was able to assure her that after they talk she would be the one making the decision about her life and that all DVConnect would do is provide her the information she needed, options for her to consider and support around both. Xanthe is typical of many of the women who call DVConnect that don’t fit the ‘conventional mould’ of what many believe is a victim and a perpetrator of domestic violence. Xanthe is well educated and financially secure and comes from the part of town where it is thought that there is no domestic violence. Xanthe holds a very high level position as a financial advisor for a large firm in town but she is also married to a very highly connected man and leaving him is not only a frightening prospect because of his terrorizing control of her but also because of the shame she will feel not only within her working and social environment but also her church. 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 it was left that if she needed further help from us she would call. Three weeks later Xanthe called DVConnect to say that she would be leaving that night and needed our help get her from the property which we did.

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

 

Survivor Story – Amara* & her dog Bella*

Amara*contacted the Womensline seeking information about what services DVConnect provides and how DVConnect might assist someone in her situation. Amara had been in a relationship with an abusive partner for 7 years and she had previously been in contact with the Womensline for counselling, support and information. On this most recent occasion, Amara contacted Womensline seeking immediate assistance to get to safety. When identifying potential difficulties and needs in sourcing safe accommodation, Amara stated that she had a 4 year old chihuahua rescue dog named Bella*, that she could not leave at home. In fact, part of the abuse that Amara’s partner had inflicted on her included tormenting Bella.

Amara revealed that the idea of leaving Bella behind had been a huge barrier in her previously accessing DVConnect services beyond counselling and support, and Amara’s partner had directly threatened to harm or kill Bella if Amara ever left the relationship. The Womensline Counsellor that Amara spoke with discussed the Pets in Crisis program that DVConnect has available for women and their pets who have experienced domestic or family violence. Although initially reluctant to part from Bella for any extended period of time, Amara self-identified that whilst safety was a priority, assistance through the Pets in Crisis program was the best thing for herself and Bella and knowing that DVConnect is partnered with reputable organisations through this program including the RSPCA Queensland, Amara decided to enter Bella into the program.

On the same day that Amara contacted the Womensline, she had an appointment at a nearby RSPCA that participates 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 to emergency motel accommodation and also refuge.

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

 

Survivor Story – Daisy*

Our Womensline received a Police referral from a station in the Far North Queensland, seeking assistance for a First Nations female named Daisy*. The young woman had been experiencing domestic and family violence from her partner of 6 months. The violence had been escalating over the past few months. Due to living in a small remote community, her partner lived in close proximity to her (both Daisy her partner lived with their families). The Police advised that though Daisy’s partner was currently detained, there was a high likelihood he would be released within 24 hours, therefore this situation needed to be treated with a sense of urgency.

Daisy had identified a safe family member who resided in another town, however, we were having difficulties getting in contact with them as she did not having a contact number for them. It is our process to always confirm that family or friends identified to be safe, are willing to assist an individual who has contacted us for support, prior to us facilitating travel arrangements to alternative locations. In order to contact Daisy’s family and confirm they were supportive of her staying with them, the Womensline team had to coordinate with local Police to locate the family member and confirm they were happy to have the young women stay with them.

Having confirmed safety and sustainability of the accommodation option with her extended family member out of town, the Womensline team booked the next available flight. Local Police supported Daisy to the airport. Daisy arrived safely and is now residing with her extended family. It has been a few years since this occurred and Daisy has stayed connected to her culture and has achieved her goal of graduating from TAFE and is now employed full time.

The collaborative action between DVConnect and local remote Police has enabled this vulnerable young woman whom has experienced significant trauma, the opportunity to live a safe life and has start her journey of healing. Daisy’s survivor story demonstrates DVConnect’s ability to quickly respond to complex circumstances, while also including culturally sensitive and appropriate practice. The initial call from Police was made less than 24 hours before Daisy was assisted with relocation to safety.

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

 

Survivor Story – Lynette*

A Social Worker from a regional hospital contacted the Womensline, seeking assistance for a client who had been a victim of ongoing domestic violence. Lynette was a woman in her late 60’s, and she had been experiencing abuse from her husband who was also her Carer. Lynette was financially dependent on her abusive partner therefore she had no access to money. Also, with limited mobility skills (due to her disability) in addition to the recovery process associated with injuries sustained after a combination of neglect and abuse by her husband, Lynette required access to 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 who was eager to support. Over the period of time that Lynette was in hospital, her son committed to setting her house up so that his mum had the aids required to support her appropriately.

Unable to travel or live independently, DVConnect were able to assist Lynette’s son to travel to Queensland to collect his mum from the hospital. DVConnect then assisted mum and son to return to the adult son’s home interstate. Sourcing high security accommodation in the form of Shelter is not the only option that DVConnect is able to assist women into, and often times there are relatives or friends who our clients identify that are in a position where they want to and can provide their loved one with safe accommodation and support. DVConnect acknowledges that informal support networks can be essential for women’s wellbeing, and there can be a lot of value in these supports, as an alternative to when appropriate to do so.

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

 

Survivor Story – Deema*

DVConnect Womensline received a call from a Worker at a Queensland Hospital, seeking safe accommodation for a very vulnerable client who had been admitted following a domestic violence incident. We were advised that the client, a transgender woman, was deaf and non-verbal, communicating via written notes or texts only and she had no phone. As a further challenge it was advised that the client, Deema*, was from overseas, having entered the country on a tourist visa which had expired 2 days prior. Deema wanted to return to her country of origin, but the person using violence had taken her passport. Following the initial contact with the hospital Social Worker and other medical staff, we were able to facilitate an extended social admission for Deema due to her high level of vulnerability and to provide us with time to secure support for her on discharge. We then engaged directly with Deema and the Embassy from her country of origin to get assistance in securing a visa and passport as a matter of priority. Given Deema’s reliance on written communication, we sourced a Westnet phone and enlisted support from Centacare to deliver it directly to Deema to enable text communication. Once she had the phone set up, she was medically discharged and we booked motel accommodation and assisted her with travel to the motel.

DVConnect worked very closely with the Embassy and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Deema’s documentation was confirmed within 2 business days. Shelly was promptly on a flight home to her mother within 4 days from her initial contact with us. The following day, the Womensline team received an email from the Embassy Consular of Deema’s Embassy, simply 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, in order to provide an individualised and sensitive response to women seeking safety in this dynamic and still emerging global world.

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

 

Survivor Story, Maddie*

Maddie* is a young woman living on one of the islands in the Torres Strait with her partner, their twin girls and his family. Maddie’s family are from another island so she had no supports of her own. Her partner attacked her the night before and she and the twins were at a health clinic. Her partner has disappeared and the police will not find him as he will hide until they go and return to Thursday Island so it is not safe for her to stay. Maddie would like to go to her family where she will be safe. Her family want her returned to them. DVConnect arranged a flight for Maddie and the twins leaving the following morning. The health clinic agreed to look after Maddie with the help of the local community police who would protect her until she was safely on the plane. DVConnect arranges up to four flights a week from the remote parts of the state including the Torres Strait, Gulf region to get women to safety. 

*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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  • Provide support to women and children to re-build their lives in our bridging accommodation.
  • Provide emergency transport and accommodation for women and children in crisis due to domestic and family violence.
  • Provide safety planning, crisis counselling and information to those impacted by violence.
  • Educate Queenslanders on how to help family/friends/colleagues who have experienced or are currently experiencing domestic and family violence.