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June 2022

Local services for women escaping domestic violence – North Shore Mums’ article

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Domestic violence is a very real and prevalent issue facing our society with reported incidents doubling in NSW over the past 10 years. If you’re in a relationship where you are abused physically, sexually or mentally, there are many local services that can help you escape domestic violence.

North Shore Mums list what services are available to women and children impacted by domestic violence and abuse on Sydney’s North Shore, including Mary’s House refuge and Mary’s House Services’ Daisy Centre.

Emma’s* Journey

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Emma’s* story:

Emma came to Mary’s House Services with her son after enduring ongoing domestic violence and abuse from her husband. Mary’s House Services provided Emma and her son the support they needed to escape and rebuild their lives safely.

Emma wanted to share her story and highlight the support she received in the hope that more families can also access this help.

“I can’t imagine how my son and I would have arrived at our lives today without the care, time and expertise of the angels at Mary’s House and the Daisy Centre.

I was referred to Mary’s House a couple of years ago and had been in touch once or twice by phone when I unexpectedly had to flee the house. I was terrified and overwrought with keeping my son safe and away from our abuser. But my son was over 16, and being male complicated where we could go.

I was in so much terror. I was afraid to speak. When I did, I would shake, stutter and cry. Everything felt so strange, almost out of body. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. I had never been in a situation like this before, nor did I know anyone who had either.

I had no idea the people at Mary’s House would be the core of my new village, gently carrying me along in a piece of cotton wool through the process.

The case worker came with me when I had to go to see police, they would accompany my son, they would contact various key people involved in the case, provide direction and advice on how the process worked, helped me with trauma/DV family lawyers, came to court dates, would speak up on my behalf to the police when I couldn’t.

Once the ADVO was in place, case workers would call and check in on us, bring Christmas hampers, help me through the Victim’s Services process, listening to my panic and fear during the Federal Court action taken against me and offer some fantastic psycho educational courses to help in my recovery process.

At the course through The Daisy Centre, I met other women like me with their own stories and I learnt tools for life that have helped me understand what happened and how I can start to move on.

Sitting here writing this today almost three years later, I cannot believe how different mine and my son’s lives are today. I am still recovering from PTSD and anxiety, but I do not live in the daily terror of what felt like living with a shark in a swimming pool.

I often wonder how many tens of thousands of dollars my journey to freedom cost and feel concerned that it is often funding that prevents women like me (and my son) from being able to access life-saving and changing help.

I am so grateful to Mary’s House for having the opportunity to start again.”

*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual.