Mary* was a 34-year-old mother of six and four months pregnant with her seventh child when she was referred to Lightning Ridge Crisis Centre through the Aboriginal Legal Service in Walgett.

Mary and her children were homeless – living in an unsuitable and inadequate dwelling – because of ongoing domestic and family violence and substance misuse issues with her ex-partner. Mission Australia offered Mary and her children crisis accommodation until she was able to attain more permanent housing.

Mary was already familiar with the service staff because of several serious domestic and family violence incidents in the past. As the case worker had already developed and maintained rapport with Mary and the children, she opened up about her issues and needs including: housing assistance, financial support, counselling and independent living skills.

Mary was not financially independent and did not know how to budget. Previously, her ex-partner would use all their money on drugs, leaving her struggling to feed the children. The case worker informed Mary this was financial abuse – a form of domestic and family violence. The worker supported Mary to attain a crisis payment through Centrelink and to develop an Individual Support Plan. She attended a budgeting program and took part in a cooking program where nutritional, economical meals are planned and cooked for the week.

After much encouragement from police that making a statement against her ex-partner would be in her family’s best interests, Mary requested the support of her case worker and made a statement. She had previously been too scared of the potential repercussions and did not trust police. Subsequently, a warrant was put out for her ex-partner’s arrest.

Mary now feels like there is “light at the end of the tunnel”. She feels that with ongoing support from Mission Australia she will eventually be able to live independently and recover a sense of stability and safety for herself and her children.

Help mothers like Mary

When you invest in the lives of mothers like Mary, you help surround them with the support and stability they need to provide a safe and nurturing home for their families.

Please donate today or consider leaving a gift in your Will to help Australian families affected by domestic and family violence.

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Know someone affected by domestic and family violence?

If you are experiencing abuse or violence it is not your fault. There are support services that can help you. If your life is in danger, call 000. For 24/7 domestic violence counselling call the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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*Names changed to protect the people we help

Out of the shadows

Understanding domestic and family violence

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Purpose - 'Inspired by Jesus Christ, Mission Australia exists to meet human need and to spread the knowledge of the love of God'