Domestic Violence

We know the statistics are beyond alarming.

Yet these numbers only just touch the surface of the deep suffering that women and children experience.

We know that on average across Australia one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. We hear an incident of domestic and family violence is reported to the police every two minutes.

We see that women and their children are living in distress every day, terrorised and vulnerable through manipulation, control and fear.

And to be perfectly honest, we have had enough. We want to play our part in the change that is needed.

The issue of domestic and family violence in Australia is significant – it is greater than BaptistCare HopeStreet could ever have anticipated when we first began working in this area over 30 years ago.

Over this time, we have developed a whole of family approach that seeks to end the cycle of abuse and build safer families.

This means coming alongside women and children, to help them rebuild their lives and to have new choices.  In working with their choices, our focus remains constant - our priority is always their safety and wellbeing.

What we do

No Interest Loans

Our No Interest Loans, free from interest, fees, charges or penalties, are for women who have experienced domestic violence, and are rebuilding their lives. 

Women who are victims of domestic violence, without access to money or any financial security, can feel trapped and unable to leave an abusive relationship.

Many women who do leave are forced into homelessness with their children, have debt from their former partner and are unable to access safe housing or afford rental payments. No Interest Loans can be used for a variety of costs including  buying new bedding and furniture, moving costs, vehicle repairs or registration, buying children’s’ books or uniforms, medical and dental costs, as well computers, for women who are seeking employment.

 

Men’s Behavioural Change

Facing Up is a program for men who are seeking to move beyond their familiar destructive patterns and take responsibility for the abusive behaviour they use with their loved ones.

This includes becoming aware of the consequences of their choices and behaviour, for themselves, and for those who they love.

The program is all about giving men the real opportunity to be the father and partner that they really want to be, and to create safe and respectful relationships.

Living Beyond Abuse Support

Living Beyond Abuse is a support group for women who have experienced domestic and family violence.

Being a part of the group allows women to meet other women in similar situations, support each other, improve their self-esteem, reduce self-blame and explore options as they seek to rebuild their lives and find hope for the future.

Parenting Support

Pathways to Parenting is a specialized parenting program for parents who have children in out of home care due to child protection concerns.

For parents who want to build stronger relationships with their children, the program gives parents the opportunity to openly share their stories and experiences, deal with issues of grief and loss, look at how to repair what went wrong and explore being the parent they want to be. 

Counselling & Relationships

We wholeheartedly believe that positive relationships have power to transform lives.

Our clinically trained staff provide counselling, relationship support programs and training in a range of specialised areas. We stand by our clients through their complicated life circumstances, including times of family separation, divorce, adolescence, depression, domestic violence, sexual abuse and suicide. This work is underpinned by the belief that each person is unique, loved by God and worthy of respect, dignity and inclusion. By respecting this individuality, we create safe environments where personal wellbeing can thrive.

Supported Accommodation

BaptistCare HopeStreet provides supported accommodation to women and children who are escaping domestic violence and seeking to rebuild their lives.

It can take years to recover from the experience of living in distress every day, terrorised and vulnerable through manipulation, control and fear, and the women living with us will often spend the first few months trying to rediscover a sense of safety for themselves and their children, while also finding a new school for their children, and possibly seeking training or employment for themselves. 

We come alongside each woman, offering individual counselling as well as a range of ongoing educational, financial and parenting programs tailored to meet their needs. We also help our clients to access government and legal support, particularly for those women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Each child attends our Break Free program, run by our specialist children’s counsellor, who supports them as they overcome the distress, sense of loss, and lingering grief experienced as a result of witnessing or being victim to domestic and family violence. The program also gives children assistance with tutoring and education.

Support for children

Break Free is an early intervention program for primary school aged children who have experienced domestic and family violence, which each of the children who arrive at our supported accommodation participate in.

One of the immediate challenges facing the children is that they often feel punished by the loss of home, friends, school, support and pets. They have also been experienced to significant trauma, violence and chaos.

Over time, the children build relationships with the workers who become their role models and they start to feel safe to talk. In addition to counsellors, caseworkers and an Early Education teacher, the program engages specialists including an Art Therapist.

Break Free teaches the children about family violence, how to deal with feelings – particularly anger - and the importance of healthy relationships.

The sessions deliver what every child needs – fun – through activities such as art and creative projects, games and kicking a ball around with a positive male role model, all with the goal to helping children move beyond the trauma they have experienced.

Our approach to Domestic Violence

We also work with men who use controlling and coercive behaviour

to help them to be held accountable for their abusive attitudes and behaviour, to make better choices in their relationships and to be the partner and father that they aspire to be.

We believe that lives can be transformed and that deep change is possible for our nation, and vital for the future of our communities and our families. All of us can play a part.

Our sisters, daughters, mothers, aunts, neighbours, friends and colleagues deserve the opportunities that are found in safe and loving relationships. Wouldn’t you agree? 

 

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Sadly, when we scratch beneath the surface, we see that domestic violence often bruises beyond the skin. More Than Skin Deep is BaptistCare’s initiative to educate on how you can recognise and respond to domestic violence.

Visit morethanskindeep.org.au