Brighter future for family

Lillian Nelson with Shariah (5), Amie (1) and Elloize (2).  Positive Pathways to Safety for Women and the Community is a preventative program assisting women to lead more independent, safer and fulfilling lives.
Lillian Nelson with Shariah (5), Amie (1) and Elloize (2). Positive Pathways to Safety for Women and the Community is a preventative program assisting women to lead more independent, safer and fulfilling lives.

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,’ Ms Nelson 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 toxic and abusive environment and has been living in women’s’ refuges 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 time, her life felt 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.’

Ms Oppermann said when she met Ms Nelson she was shy and withdrawn.

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

The single mother has moved into transitional housing, is looking forward to getting her driver’s license and hopes to find a job in hospitality.

Positive Pathways has facilitated community awareness sessions to more than 170 people.

They have several workshops coming up including a half-day seminar on job readiness on April 30.

A five-week program on self-esteem and confidence begins on May 1 and a half-day workshop on women’s wellbeing is on from 8.45am on May 14.

A finance workshop is also being held from 8.45am to 4pm on May 28.

For more information or to register, email admin@positivepathways.org.au or call 6189 2953.

Positive Pathways are also in need of volunteers, mentors and monetary donations.