Domestic violence survivor Sandra* is just one person who would be so thankful for your Christmas gift today.
Sandra’s heartbreaking situation – and her children’s – requires the ongoing compassion of BaptistCare supporters.
For Sandra’s entire 17-year marriage she suffered from her husband’s abuse. The physical and emotional violence escalated after he lost his job. It got even worse when he started using drugs, including ice.
After so long trapped in a cycle of fear and control, Sandra just couldn’t break away on her own. It wasn’t until her children’s school noticed changes in their behaviour and notified Family and Community Services, that she could be assisted to make her escape.
First they fled to a motel, then housing at BaptistCare. Thanks to generosity like yours, we could welcome the traumatised family with open arms into their fully furnished temporary home, complete with toys, food, linen, towels and toiletries.
But as you can imagine, the wounds Sandra and the children bear have cut very deeply. They continue to need your care.
Sandra’s eldest, Julie*, has severe reading and writing difficulties. She is three full years behind the other 12-year-olds in her Year 6 class. Julie’s little brother Billie*, who is 6, has been overwhelmed with anger and confusion to the point he has been threatening other children in the playground at school. And when we met Sandra’s youngest, 1-year-old Tommy*, his communication was behind. Sandra had to carry him everywhere due to his extreme clinginess caused by trauma.
Sandra is taking ‘Triple P’ parenting classes with our early education teacher to learn how to respond to her children’s needs in spite of her emotional pain. Attending our supported playgroup with his mum, Tommy has started talking and is gradually discovering how to be apart from his mum.
At our Homework Club, our volunteer special-needs teacher is helping Julie catch up in her literacy. With Billie, she is also attending our Break Free group, learning about feelings and healthy relationships, and both are seeing our children’s counsellor to work one-on-one through the hurts of a lifetime.
Sandra also needs a lot of help to start getting on top of her extensive depts. These include $2,000 for property damage to their old rental that was out of Sandra’s control. So that she can make ends meet in future, she has been linked with a financial counsellor, and she attends a BaptistCare program teaching people how to budget.
Sandra and her children will be with BaptistCare long-term as they have very high needs and it is hard for women like Sandra to open up about their experiences. Our domestic violence expert, Lesley Robson describes the need she sees day in day out and the ways your support helps.
Lesley says, “When women come to our crisis accommodation, all they want is a roof over their head, food for the children, safety. Some walk out with just the clothes on their back. They can be grieving, angry, guilty. They’ll stay with us for nine to 12 months. That’s the earliest we can help the mums into supported housing. After that, we’ll continue seeing them for a while for counselling.”
“When their life is more together, they look back and say oh wow, I’ve come so far. Some send us photos of the children growing up, thank you letters.”
“But the most rewarding thing to me is seeing little children who come here hiding behind mum. They’ve lived in so much fear they haven’t learned to speak, they jump every time there’s a loud noise. After three months with us, they’ve got language skills, they’re waving, smiling, giving you hugs. That’s amazing.”
Although their recovery is gradual, your donation now will change the lives of families like Sandra’s who have endured domestic violence.
Please click on the ‘Donate’ button and give hope by giving to BaptistCare this Christmas.