I am not the only one

My name is Melissa * and I am 38 years old.

I came on 9th September 2013 to Bonnie’s Support Services with my two children. Angela* my daughter was ten years old at that time and my son Tom* was about to turn seven.

At this stage, my children and I felt confused, scared and stressed. We had to travel a fair distance from our original residence to Bonnie’s Support Services and while travelling I went quiet due to the fear I felt and the fact that I had to speak to strangers.

The worker at Bonnie’s Support Services welcomed us immediately and made us feel a little better with her gentle voice while treating us very nicely. The worker showed us to our new room which was nice, clean and more importantly safe. I met with the other tenants and for the first time, I realised I was not the only domestic violence victim in this world.

Bonnie’s Support Services helped us with accommodation, food and other things, but having no income really made my situation a lot more difficult. Bonnie’s Support Services provided me with a family worker to help me with my issues and also help me with immigration documents. Bonnie’s Support Services assisted me right from the beginning from getting an income, referring me to immigration services for specialised assistance to gaining our confidence back and finding our own frame of thought again with the help of counselling.

I feel that my family worker is like my own family as she always spoke to me gently and provided me with patience and friendliness. The counsellor my children saw was also like family as she was always friendly to me and the children. Bonnie’s Support Services really provided us with all that we needed.

While Bonnie’s Support Services assisted me with all the difficulties in relation to my immigration matters they also referred me and my children to community programs. My family worker referred us to courses arranged by the local council as well as community organisations. Through my engagement with Bonnie’s Support Services, I achieved a financial certificate from TAFE which I feel very proud of. On the other hand, my children also feel much more confident after suffering from domestic and family violence.

I was at Bonnie’s Support Services (crisis accommodation) for six months and we then moved to a transitional property. From the beginning, we felt great as we were finally living in a house, a real house. We engaged well with our environment and formed relationships with our neighbours. We really like the house and Bonnie’s Support Services have really assisted my family by allowing us to live here for free as I was not receiving an income from Centrelink anymore due to my immigration matters. Bonnie’s Support Services also assisted us with the electricity bills and added expenses for me and my two children. I am so thankful.

Again I was forced to face a difficult stage in my life as I needed to find a job to create an ongoing income. Bonnie’s Support Services understood my circumstances and assisted us with food vouchers and Opal transport tickets. My family worker has been really helpful with not only our financial problems but also with emotional support. Bonnie’s Support Services has given me the chance to feel like I have a family in Australia especially when we needed it the most.

The manager at Bonnie’s Support Services has also been very supportive and done her best to engage with us when we were forced to face some problems. The team at Bonnie’s Support Services are always linking me up with many resources and making me feel really welcome. The school holiday workshops have been a great distraction for my kids from our problems and they are very thankful as they feel happy and appreciated every time they are here. I feel that through this service I am always treated well and provided with necessary information or linked to necessary services in relation to government policies, immigration laws and legal advice. Until now I am still receiving support from Bonnie’s Support Services and am grateful that we feel safe.

Thank you to all the staff at Bonnie’s Support Services. I feel so lucky to have met you all.

Kind Regards,

Melissa*

* Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Photo by Joey Yu on Unsplash

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