Back from rock bot­tom Kids’ ser­vice at cri­sis point

Cockburn Gazette - - #SNAPPERTH -

“I DO not want to be the mum who hits her chil­dren.” This is a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sur­vivor’s story. It is in­tended to high­light that ask­ing for help can trans­form lives for the bet­ter. Names have not been used to pro­tect the vic­tims.

NONE of us gets to choose the sit­u­a­tion we are born into and should it be a vi­o­lent, dys­func­tional one, it all too of­ten pre­dis­poses us to his­tory re­peat­ing.

This hap­pened to one young woman when her part­ner echoed the fright­en­ing experiences of her child­hood. It even­tu­ally left her com­pletely at rock bot­tom and with no fam­ily or sup­port to turn to.

At her low­est point, that young woman re­alised for any­thing to change she had to ex­pe­ri­ence a fi­nal in­dig­na­tion: to let go of her pride.

The very sur­vival of her young fam­ily de­pended on it.

She sought help with Angli­care WA and cred­its it with bring­ing not just her­self but her chil­dren back from the brink. She had not seen the signs. “When I first met my part­ner, ev­ery­thing was fine; the prob­lems didn’t be­gin un­til af­ter the chil­dren were born,” she said.

“I never had any role mod­els; not see­ing healthy re­la­tion­ships, it’s hard to know what those re­la­tion­ships look like.”

Seek­ing help changed some­thing she was des­per­ate to avoid.

“My kids have seen do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and I was so wor­ried; I re­ally did not want that for them,” she said. “Enough was enough; it was a call for help for my chil­dren.”

Her life has not only sta­bilised but is set to im­prove be­cause she reached out.

“We have a home which we love and now I have the time for my kids,” she said.

“It’s like a 180-de­gree turn to where we were. We had noth­ing, ab­so­lutely noth­ing.

“I re­mem­ber hav­ing just bread or Weet-Bix to eat be­cause I felt too ashamed to go and ask for a food ham­per.”

She said she could now en­joy her chil­dren and had built solid foun­da­tions for her fam­ily.

“I have gone back to study and I am due to fin­ish my course this year,” she said.

“We are all calmer and hap­pier. I’m glad that I recog­nised I needed to make a dif­fer­ent choice.

“I’m not go­ing to be the mum hit­ting her chil­dren”

She said sup­port was out there and had this ad­vice to oth­ers af­fected.

“It’s tough but if you need help, go seek it. There will be help out there for your fam­ily,” she said. A VI­TAL do­mes­tic vi­o­lence coun­selling ser­vice for chil­dren is in dan­ger of clos­ing and needs help.

Angli­care WA’s free Young Hearts ser­vice is at a cri­sis point since the Man­durah of­fice was forced to close last year and the Rock­ing­ham of­fice be­came part-time.

Wait­ing lists for an ap­point­ment are now more than six months.

Court or­ders from the Fam­ily Court of WA to at­tend Young Hearts have been ad­versely af­fected by the long wait­ing list. The in-de­mand ser­vice is for chil­dren up to 18 years old and is rec­om­mended by the Fam­ily Court of WA, the De­part­ment for Child Pro­tec­tion, WA Po­lice, schools, hospi­tals and com-

mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions.

It is ded­i­cated to break­ing the cy­cle of fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence by reach­ing out to chil­dren be­fore any prob­lems arise.

A ma­jor fundraiser, An­gels Ris­ing – Din­ner in the Cathe­dral, is on Novem­ber 10 and has been or­gan­ised for the ser­vice. It is an allinclu­sive three-course din­ner with ex­ec­u­tive chef Chris Tay­lor.


Angli­care staff Melissa, Jacky and James.

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