The day Shara* moved into one of WAGEC’s refuges with her two small children, 3 and 7, it was actually her birthday. She was turning 37. Ten days before, Shara had left her home, picked up her children from childcare and kindy and hadn’t gone home. It was the fifth time she had tried to leave her violent relationship, but Shara was determined it would be the last.
For a week, the family stayed at a hotel, Shara desperately calling services and only leaving the room to get essentials. Finally, they were offered a room at one of WAGEC’s refuges and a couple of days later they moved in.
For 5 months, the family stayed at the refuge and worked through organising financials and housing. Shara and her Case Manager also set up the beginnings of what would be a long court process with Shara’s ex-partner. At the beginning, Shara was hesitant to engage with any of the programs or activities happening at the refuge.
“I didn’t think we needed any of the activities. We were there to get things organised and then we would be gone. I wanted things to go back to some sort of normal.”
But after a couple of weeks, Shara took up the offer to have her kids minded by a SEED volunteer while she went to an appointment. When she got back to the refuge, they were giggling and playing with the other children in the playroom. She signed them up to SEED’s supported playgroup the next day.
“For some reason, I had in my head that doing the activities, like the cooking class, the playgroups and the mentoring would mean staying longer at the refuge. But these things have actually made the time here a little easier and have helped me feel more confident about what I have to do next."
*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.