Alice* is an Aboriginal young person who has experienced domestic and family violence and homelessness. With very little parental support – her parents were estranged and her mother was dependent on drugs and sleeping rough – Alice left home when she was just 13.

Alice fell pregnant at an early age and moved in with her partner. After having a second child, their relationship became untenable due to severe domestic and family violence: on one occasion Alice was hospitalised due to head injuries that required her to be on life support for three days.

Sadly, stories like Alice’s are far too common. 16% of women (1.5 million) and 5.9% of men (528,800) have experienced physical violence from a partner.1

Alice once reported that her former partner kidnapped their children and returned them with bruises, cigarette burns and one with a broken nose. Following this incident, the children were taken into care of the Department for Child Protection and were placed with a family member with visitation rights. 

Our family was falling apart. I was sad we couldn’t all be together but I was also terrified for my children’s safety and my own safety.Alice

When Alice was referred to Mission Australia’s Youth Accommodation Support Services (YASS), she was experiencing homelessness and mental health issues, was dependent on prescription drugs, and was pregnant with her third child.

YASS case workers registered her with a local medical practice and supported her to attend all her appointments. Alice was also supported to maintain her accommodation using the YASS Behavioural Management and Support Strategy. Alice was supported by YASS to re-engage with education and to address some of her legal issues, including appearing in court over custody of her children.

Alice left YASS in 2017 and moved to a young mothers and children service. Thanks to the support that was in place, Alice was able to keep her third child in her care, and has maintained phone contact with YASS to provide updates on the birth, development of parenting skills and her postnatal experience.

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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).

Where to get help

Acknowledging that one of your relationships may be unhealthy or potentially harmful can be overwhelming to cope on your own. It can also be difficult to see the bigger context when trying to look at a relationship outside of our own lens. Whether it’s a relationship you need help navigating, a behaviour you want to change or advice to support a loved one involved in an unhealthy relationship, reach out to:

  • If your life is in danger, contact emergency services on 000 immediately.

*Names changed to protect the people we help
1Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017), Personal safety, Australia, 2016

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