I am an Intake worker at Bonnies. I work out if we’re the best service for a woman, depending on her needs and how we can help. Nothing is straightforward. For example, I’ll always remember this woman…
I was really proud of her. I saw her in an outreach capacity when I was at the Liverpool Health Centre. She had so much going on: finishing her university degree; looking after three children with no support; she had experienced severe DV; and she was from overseas so had English as her second language. The perpetrator was overseas but due to return, so together we worked on a plan for her to leave. It was important to her that she finish her degree but staying in the area was a big risk for her. We finally got her to a different area and away from him, she finished her degree and now she’s safe and looking for work in her field. When I saw her do all that I was like, ‘Go girl!’
I had another referral this week, a 19-year-old girl who had just had a baby. When her parents found out that she was pregnant and giving birth, they had delivered her to the hospital, abandoned her there and cut off all contact. I’m trying to assist her but at the moment we don’t have a vacancy. I’m talking to her social worker and hoping that a place in one of our refuges will come up because I really feel like a young girl like that will need so much support.
It can be like holding so many balls in the air. The problems can be so complex and out of our control. Some days I’ll say to one of the girls here, ‘I feel like I achieved absolutely nothing today.’ That’s because I will have spoken to someone whose problem can’t be fixed that day. It’s frustrating. I can’t say, ‘Yes come in, we’ll give you this or this.’
But then I remember the days when we can say exactly that. I think of when we have offered women and children transitional properties and they’ve just been so overwhelmed with a sense of relief and thanks, and they’ve expressed it like: ‘This is the first time we’re going to feel like a family again.’
It kind of breaks your heart but it makes you happy as well.
This story is told by Susan, one of Bonnie’s Intake workers