Domestic violence recovery courses given funding boost

August 12, 2016

A long-term victim of domestic violence still living in hiding has told how a program run in Perth helped her regain resilience and self-esteem.

The woman, who wants to as Miss T, described how violence at the hands of her husband, and then later her son, stripped her of any sense of self-belief.

“They always talk about domestic violence. It’s domestic terror,” she said.

Domestic violence victim Miss T says she has spent years living in fear. ABC News: Andrew O'Connor
Domestic violence victim Miss T says she has spent years living in fear.
ABC News: Andrew O’Connor

Miss T said she spent years living in fear, wondering what the day would hold, reduced to silence by embarrassment and powerlessness.

“Suddenly, in your mind, you are actually nothing,” she said.

Miss T started that difficult work through programs at Zonta House Refuge, based in the Perth suburb of Bentley.

The program includes workshops for women fleeing or still in violent relationships, helping them rebuild self-esteem, self-confidence and personal resilience.

Miss T said the program had been essential to her recovery, but so deep were the scars of her abuse, she needed to return to the workshop repeatedly to sustain her resilience.

“I’ve overcome a lot,” she said.

“I’m not as embarrassed as I used to be … I’m much much stronger, and I’m getting there.

State Government injects $25,000 into workshops

Zonta House is one of eight organisations that will share in $148,000 in crime prevention grants from the State Government.

The organisation has received $25,000 to help bankroll its Positive Pathways Education Workshops for women like Miss T.

Chief executive Kelda Oppermann said the domestic violence sector provided essential services to victims with very limited funding, relying heavily on volunteers.

She said the organisation held 40 workshops in the past financial year, attended by more than 280 women.

Ms Oppermann said evidence gathered from course participants showed the courses made a positive difference.

Police Minister Liza Harvey said the courses provided a mix of education, self-defence and legal advice about restraining orders.

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