Regaining control of finances

Regaining control of her finances got Emma’s life back on track 

Emma had endured enough. After years of abuse at the hands of her partner, 40-year-old mother of six, Emma, finally fled the relationship, children in tow.  

But that was by far the end of her ordeal, and her life began to spiral.  

Her ex continued to threaten and manipulate her and the children and refused to pay child support. As Emma’s mental and physical health deteriorated, so did her financial situation. Burdened with an ever-increasing debt, the family found themselves homeless. 

“At that point, I felt like I’d hit rock bottom.” – Emma 

Thankfully, she reached out for help and soon secured safe housing. But just when things were looking a little brighter, COVID struck. With the family of seven in lockdown, energy use in the home soared – as did the utility bills.  

Fearing her power would be disconnected, Emma got in touch with Bethany South West’s Financial Counselling team. Financial counsellor, Tara, listened to Emma’s anxieties, and together they worked out a course of action. With Tara’s support, Emma applied for grants and bonuses which would help her reduce her debt, while Tara advocated on Emma’s behalf to negotiate a partial debt waiver and payment plan from her energy company.  

Together, they were successful in reducing Emma’s debt by more than 50%, with an affordable payment plan in place to ensure Emma could sustainably cover her future power bills. Bethany’s Financial Counselling program also helped her develop strategies and knowledge to better manage her finances. 

“I was so relieved to see my debt reduced like that.

I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m confident I’ll get on top of it.” – Emma 

Recognising Emma’s need for broader support, Tara also connected her with services to provide the ongoing support she needed to manage her family situation and her mental health.  

With her debt under control, Emma can now concentrate on prioritising her family and her health – mental, physical and financial.   

Bethany Community Support provides a number of financial support services including financial counselling and financial wellbeing services. 

Financial counsellors are qualified professionals who provide information, advice and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. This includes those impacted by family violence and gambling harm. Our financial counselling program covers the regions of Horsham, Warrnambool, Geelong and surrounds.  

More than 250 people from the South West and Wimmera regions sought financial counselling from Bethany during 2021.  

Service provision to clients remain largely uninterrupted during COVID, with sessions undertaken on the phone.  

Every child, family and individual deserves opportunities to live their best life.