TWO Mandurah women are trying to raise awareness of domestic violence and also help survivors.
Janine Sheed and Tracey Howell started a Facebook page in March after toying with the idea for months.
The women said they were providing support for other women who had experienced abuse.
“Usually people who have had to flee from a domestic violence situation are fearful for their lives and can also feel very isolated,” Ms Sheed said.
“Providing support is vital as quite often there could be police and other agencies involved, such as the Department for Child Protection or counsellors.
“This can be overwhelming for a victim if they have been in a controlling situation where they or the children did not get to experience what most of us take for granted – like going to the shop, or the city, travelling on a train or bus.
“Learning to trust again is challenging for most people who have experienced domestic violence.”
Currently Ms Sheed and Ms Howell are funding the costs of providing hampers themselves.
They also support other women by sharing their own experiences, letting them know there is a way out and referring them to financial and counselling agencies, plus refuges.
Ms Sheed said she experienced a range of abuse during her 18-year marriage.
“Stopping domestic violence would take a miracle as so much of it goes on without any reports being made and usually there is one partner who has power over the other,” she said.
“Bringing tougher penalties against perpetrators may help, as could education in schools to teach children what domestic violence is and the effects it can have.
“As could teaching kids when to call police or a friend or neighbour if something happens in their home and teaching safety procedures to women and children.”
Ms Sheed said there needed to be more emergency accommodation available for women escaping domestic violence.
One on one personal support to help a family through the legal process was also essential.
“As court can be very frightening for most, especially the children,” she said.
“A case support person would be great, someone the victim can get to know and trust and for Centrelink staff to have more of an understanding and knowledge of the health implications domestic violence has for survivors.”
This is part of a feature on domestic violence.
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