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Gemma* was living in a women’s refuge in Western Australia when she was referred to Safe Haven via the domestic violence line. Her former partner had been extremely violent and the police had deemed the case high risk after he breached his bail and Apprehended Violence Orders to contact her. Gemma is a British citizen and the British consulate advised her to relocate immediately.
The domestic violence line called Safe Haven as they knew she would be able to arrive at any time of the day or night. She flew in from Western Australia at 9pm the following night, tired, hurt and upset with her ten year old daughter and baby.
Throughout her stay at Safe Haven the staff helped Gemma to see that the violence she had been subjected to was not her fault. They helped her to do what she wanted to do – go home to England to her family. Her Australian born baby daughter didn’t have a passport so she started the lengthy process of applying for a passport without her ex-partner’s signature. Two months later she received a passport for her daughter and was able to return to England. While she was staying at Safe Haven her former partner was arrested and charged. He is now in custody.
Gemma is one of many women who have had to flee for their lives. Last year, there were 28,780 victims of family and domestic violence-related assault in New South Wales. According to police data, 12,561 women were victims of assault over the same period. That’s 34 a day. Of those, 9651 were assaults by a partner and another 2993 were by a former partner. In 2015 alone, 78 women died due to domestic violence in Australia.
Since 1995 Safe Haven has helped 1702 clients to leave violent situations like Gemma’s. So far, none have returned to their violent partner.
Safe Haven and Open Support are committed to helping women and children to escape domestic violence. Your generous donation can help our clients to move forward by providing a safe space 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Safe Haven also supplies food, clothing, assistance with legal and police matters and psychological support to assist clients to break the cycle of violence.
If you would like to help us tackle domestic violence you can donate here. For more information on how we are working with victims of domestic violence, please see the Safe Haven Appeal page.