It is one of hope. A story about a mother and her child escaping domestic violence and beginning a new, safe and empowered life free from fear and abuse. Ann arrived in Australia through an arranged marriage, promised a happy and good life. Sadly that was not her reality. Ann as abused by her husband regularly (physically, sexually, emotionally, and financially) for years. When Ann tried to seek help, her husband threatened her and their child; she lived in fear that she would be separated from her son and she would be sent to her home country. Ann’s situation was bleak. She did not speak the language, was alone, and came to feel worthless due to the constant abuse and coercive control.
Escaping Domestic and Family Violence
Then, on one particular day, Ann witnessed her 4-year-old son being sexually abused by her stepson. Traumatised by what she had seen and feared for her child’s life, she took the risk of contacting her brother about it, who immediately called the police, after which she and her son were removed from their home and given refuge at Open Support.
How our skilled team assisted in helping Ann get back a sense of control
Open Supports’ program was a tool for Ann to get back on her feet. Her husband’s control on Ann’s visa weighed heavily on her mind. Within Ann’s situation, her perpetrator maintained control over her, with the threat of being deported, so when Ann disclosed that she believed her son would be taken away from her, her fears were heard, and she was reassured that would not happen.
Open Support’s skilled team assisted Ann to obtain legal services, which further allayed her fears. For the first time in years, Ann was feeling hope; she could see some services would help her that she did have rights in Australia, and over time she gained glimpses of the good life she had been previously promised.
Beyond Crisis Accommodation
Ann stayed at Open Support, crisis accommodation for three months, and received intensive case management helping her access several services such as counselling, legal & immigration, and income assistance. After three months, she was ready to leave the refuge and move into Open Support’s transitional care program. Open Support secured a lease in Ann’s name, whilst providing the financial means for her rent and living expenses.
Today, Ann and her child live in their own home, a stable and healthy environment free from violence. With the support of Open Support staff, Ann was able to obtain a bridging visa within a few months of moving in, giving her the capacity to work and earn an income and become entirely financially self-sufficient. She has gained confidence and is a now functioning and contributing member of her community, living the promised life with a renewed sense of hope for a safe and happy future.