Mum finds path out of abusive environment

Lillian Nelson with daughters Shariah, Amie and Elloize. Picture: David Baylis d418588
Lillian Nelson with daughters Shariah, Amie and Elloize. Picture: David Baylis d418588

She was a victim of domestic violence for six years.

‘I was scared and it was hard to get out, but I just waited until the time was right and then left,’ she said.

‘I wish I could go back to the life I had before it all happened ” it really has changed everything.

‘It’s hard and you have to live with not only the abuse, but it’s also physically and emotionally hard.’

Ms Nelson managed to escape the abusive environment and has been living in refuges for women for the past few years.

The single mother said caring for three daughters under the age of five was a daily challenge, but for the first time in a long while her life looked brighter.

She owes this feeling to Positive Pathways to Safety for Women and the Community, which is based in Bentley.

It is a preventative program assisting women to lead more independent, safe and fulfilling lives.

The program aims to help women who have experienced or are at risk of family and domestic violence, mental health issues and homelessness.

About 15-17 per cent of Australian women are affected by family or domestic violence over their lifetime.

Positive Pathways is helping change this statistic and has had 66 women attend five workshops in the past four months.

The program started in January and manager Kelda Oppermann said it offered case management, education, mentoring, coaching, starting over support and community awareness workshops.

‘A few years ago, they saw there were a lot of people returning, and children and grandchildren coming through,’ Ms Oppermann said.

‘We wanted to look at preventative programs that would stop that cycle as well as reach out to women in the community who weren’t accessing support.’

When Ms Oppermann met Ms Nelson, she said the latter was shy and withdrawn.

‘We watched her blossom because she’s attended every week and now she is a really active member and contributes to the workshops,’ she said.

‘She’s engaged, she writes her own poetry and stories and art, which is really nice to share.’

Ms Nelson said she had a new outlook on life, having gone through the program.

‘I came into Positive Pathways shy, but each week my confidence has grown,’ she said.

‘I was in this little shell and didn’t really connect with people and was always angry, but as soon as I started coming here, I felt much better and heaps open with people.’

Ms Nelson has moved into transitional housing and is looking forward to getting her driver’s licence.

She hopes to find a job in hospitality.