I’ve been working with families in crisis for about six years now, two of those at Bonnie’s. Basically, I work with our mums.
When families first come to us, there’s always a lot to sort out. I’ll help with going to the police, getting Mum to family lawyers or supporting her with immigration. Mum is my priority – everything from accommodation, to court stuff to health.
We have Child and Youth workers who focus on the kids too and we work alongside each other. We share what we’re finding and where we can help. Usually this process takes about three months, depending on the situation.
Once all the groundwork is done and the family is safe, we focus on helping them out of the refuge and into a rental property – everyone wants their own home, don’t they?
We keep supporting those families as they find their way, usually for about six weeks. I see the difference when I go and visit them in their new place. They’re so proud of everything. They tell me about their plans, show me their bedrooms and I can see that they’ve made some friends. They’re getting out there and they’re doing things in their community. It’s great to see.
When it comes time for us to withdraw and close our casework with them, they can sometimes get a bit anxious. It’s natural but you know, usually they just need a little reminder of how far they’ve come.
I’ll sit down with them and say, “Look, how far you’ve come! You’re doing so well now and you’re really doing it all on your own!’ That seems to help.
Many, many of our women are absolutely successful in re-building their lives – they’re confident and they’re happy and they can always come back to us if they need help. They know that.
Over the years of doing this work, I have got a bit smarter. I’ve realised it’s not my job to be a saviour but it is my job to help families get back up on their feet in their own way. Each of us has to do it for ourselves and that’s what makes us strong in the end.
Written by Babs