A Worrying Sight For Our Refuge Staff

Our team have seen a worrying, but sadly expected, increase in young people seeking support due to domestic and family violence since the pandemic.

The young people we work with are often the witnesses of ongoing traumatic and terrifying domestic and family violence in their homes, against their loved ones, and themselves. And in many instances, are also the direct victims of assault and emotional and psychological abuse. We are seeing this increasingly in situations where cultural, sexual or spiritual beliefs and values of a young person don’t comply with those of their family.

These young people need our help to overcome the trauma and distress that they’ve experienced.  As victims of domestic and family violence they have been degraded and debilitated. They have incredibly low self-esteem and have often been made to feel that they are the cause of the abuse, when in actuality, they are the victim.

Not only is our job to provide safe and secure housing and all the basic necessities such as access to education, income and employment etc, but importantly, it’s to help them rebuild their sense of identity and self-worth, and form trusting and healthy relationships. This enables the young people to connect with our team who can then guide them to set goals and work with the external supports such as counselling that will help them overcome their past and develop independent living skills so that they can reach their full potential.

Whenever possible, and only once safety has been established, we try to support the young person to reconnect with their family and culture. We also try to connect their family with the services and supports they need to end the cycle of abuse.

We are very fortunate to do the work that we do. The young people we support are resilient and grateful and with the right support, go onto achieve great things. We’ve had clients complete degrees, enter the Police Force and go onto work in Community Services so that they can help others, the way they were helped.

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