As a case worker, supporting women with children who are fleeing domestic violence comes with many emotions. Walking alongside a family and being part of their journey and witnessing small wins along the way is what keeps me going. Whenever I get asked what I do for work and I tell them, the response is usually: “I could never do what you do.”
During my time at Bonnie’s there’s this one family that has really stuck with me with over the years. And I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them. This woman contacted us after being in Australia for several months. She’d had a tough time- she wasn’t allowed to have friends, had zero family in Australia, no support network, and was completely isolated. To make things even harder, she didn’t speak a work of English.
But she did it, she fled her abusive relationship with her two young children.
I needed to teach her basic things like how to go to the shops, withdraw money from an ATM etc. There was this one time we were in the supermarket in a reception dead zone which meant no google translator! It was so funny, we were trying to guess what the other person was saying, and walking around the supermarket aisles pointing at things together to try and figure out what she was looking for.
I built a beautiful connection with her and her kids. With the support from the child and youth worker we got her kids into child care and she started going to English school. She was able to move into stable accommodation, and continued to achieve her many goals she’d put her mind to. Towards the end of our journey we were able to communicate in English and have a conversation (without any translators). Winning!!!
When I reflect and look back at the woman I met on the first day to the woman she is today, I now see a woman that is empowered, a woman that has a voice, a woman who is resilient, and a woman who is independent and has so much to look forward to. It’s moments like these that make my job worth it
Written by Tania.
Image by artist Andreas Gursky.