These stories are from clients who utilise the services we support.
For safety reasons we have chosen not to disclose the names of these incredible women who have bravely shared their stories with us. We have also chosen not to disclose the name of the service in order to protect their clients and staff.
I came to the DV service at a point when I knew I needed help but wasn't sure where to go. I had left my husband after 16 years of domestic violence and abuse. I was in a whirlwind, navigating everything including a messy and expensive legal battle. The service was the first place that made me feel like all I was feeling was real. They listened and they understood. I could be angry or upset; frustrated or vulnerable. It didn't matter. What mattered was that this was the first place that recognised that this was a big emotional rollercoaster and understood the environment that I had come from. It was the first step in feeling like 'it wasn't me'.
After struggling with the lack of support from my husband, I contacted the DV line and they referred me to one of the services the Foundation supports. The organisation was a safety net that helped me move forward with confidence. The counsellors helped me to learn and understand what was going on in my relationship with my husband. After I left my husband and moved out, I thought that was it. Both counsellors recognised what stage I was at and recommended I continue counselling. I felt the counsellors truly understood me and validated my feelings. Seeing the counsellors at the service helped me realise that it wasn’t me. DV is so specific and you need DV specialised services to truly understand what is happening. The light was turned on when I came to this organisation. It is critical that they continue to provide the service for women like me and the community. If it weren’t for them I’d be in a very toxic situation, continuing to make excuses for his behaviour. Thank goodness for them as it’s made me see a lot more clearly and feel stronger. It’s very empowering coming here.
I came to the service after my husband (now ex) physically assaulted me. During the first session with the counsellor I remember her stating “You are safe here”, I then realised how unsafe I felt. She assured me that my feelings were very normal which was extremely comforting to hear. I felt trust, kindness, protection and also that I wasn’t an idiot and it wasn’t my fault. The counsellor was a woman with integrity and utmost care and I am amazed and thankful I crossed paths with her. Before coming to the service, I’d accessed other supports, but not DV specialist support. If it wasn’t for them and the DV specialised counselling, I wouldn’t be here today. DV specialist counselling should be highly funded to protect women and children. I can’t thank everyone at the service enough. We need more services like them in each suburb.
They helped me put everything into perspective over the last 5 years. The counsellor helped me realise it wasn’t me, it was him. She empowered me and I believe if it wasn’t for this service I’d be dead. The Service is my safe place.
I heard about the service as a domestic violence agency to support me and so I rang them. It was a really good first impression on the phone. At the time I didn’t realise what I was in. I didn’t know the term domestic violence and what that was, but I wanted to get out. I lived in an affluent area where the police didn’t understand or believe the violence was occurring. I started with the DV support group – I was still in denial and was unsure when I started this, but it was brilliant. It was uplifting to go to this group where people experienced the same things. I also did another DV group later on, which was also really good. I started counselling at this service, which was great for validating the experience, and understanding how society has allowed DV to happen. It helped alleviate my anxiety and gave me a clear headspace. It was really helpful to be able to talk to someone who understood all the issues. I felt that this service really got it. If it wasn’t for them my physical health would definitely be worse, and my relationships, especially with my daughter, would have been severed for good. I was in a much better state to fight for myself in the family court system. I was able to manoeuvre and end up with something. I was able to maintain relationships – I was losing friends, who couldn’t understand what I was experiencing. The counsellor helped me to be calmer and more in control. I managed to get back to work. I am grateful because they helped me as a mother, sister, daughter, and friend.
I have been with my husband since 2002, and in 2017 he hit and choked me. I have accessed counselling and legal advice at this service. I’m now coming once a month for a counselling session to set goals – it is giving me the focus to help me get out of the situation I’m in. This organisation has been very supportive to my situation. I have 2 children with additional needs. The house is under renovation – which is a control method; I need him to help with the children as well. I’ve been working 7 days a week since the attack. It’s very challenging. Apart from keeping me focussed on my goal to get out, the counsellor is extremely supportive; accessing legal advice here was very helpful. I’ve had some advice from DV at the police as well, but this service has been extremely supportive. I’ve been able to talk things through, and I feel that the counsellor understands my situation and helps. She really gets it. If it wasn’t for the support that I received I think I would have depression, especially after the 2017 physical attack, and be feeling hopeless. The service is a safe space and I always feel welcomed. I’ve referred others here as well and they all feel welcomed as well. The playgroup is great as a safe, supportive environment (and without men) – it is secure. I love this place.