How Sally escaped family violence during lockdowns

Building a new life in Geelong

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sally and her infant son James were experiencing the frightening intensity of a violent relationship and a lockdown. Fearing for their lives, Sally and James fled their home in New South Wales to Geelong where she had family. The pair left behind all personal belongings, arriving in the new city with a bag and the clothes on their back.

On arrival, Sally sought help at The Orange Door where she was referred to Bethany’s Specialist Women’s & Children’s team. When case worker, Anna, first met Sally she noted that she was overwhelmed, traumatised and still suffering physical injuries. Anna commenced liaising with Family Violence services in New South Wales, who had assisted Sally to come to Victoria. By obtaining Sally’s risk assessment from them, she spared Sally the trauma of retelling her story.

Anna organized for Sally’s personal items in New South Wales to be packed up and applied for funding to pay for them to be brought to Victoria. With Sally’s consent, Anna liaised with her interstate lawyer who applied for an intervention order on her behalf, thus ensuring that the perpetrator could not trace Sally’s whereabouts to Geelong.

Whilst now feeling safer, Sally and her son faced homelessness as they struggled to secure affordable housing. Anna supported Sally to make submissions for emergency housing. She also referred her to Geelong Mums, organised supermarket and clothing vouchers, as well as supporting her to access Child Care subsidy.

Ongoing emotional and mental health supports were arranged, including a referral for James to Bethany’s Counselling team and support for Sally to obtain Medicare funded psychological support.

Anna also undertook advocacy to enable Sally to be placed on both state’s Victims Register and to apply for Crimes Compensation, as well as providing Sally with support letters for Family Court.

While Sally and James still face many barriers, they are now well equipped and supported to make a fresh start in their new city. Recently Sally attended her first job interview and is feeling more optimistic about the future.

Bethany’s family violence services for women and children

Experiencing family violence can be a frightening and lonely situation. Bethany Community Support offers counselling, support and advice to women and children who are experiencing, or who have experienced, family violence. We work closely with other support services including sexual assault counselling services, Victoria Police, courts and others to support you and your children. If required, we may be able to help you find short term or crisis accommodation. We have financial counselling available for women who are leaving a relationship.

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

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