News • 29 Apr 2021
Building a new life after Domestic Violence
Jennifer*, from Logan, has made friendships and reconnected with family members since receiving Open Minds support to leave a long-term abusive relationship.
About six months ago, with help from her Open Minds Support Workers, Jennifer realised she was living in a domestic violence situation.
Jennifer said: “My Open Minds Support Workers helped me to move away from my abusive partner, and I haven’t seen him since. Without my Open Minds Support Workers, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Jennifer’s life was being controlled by her partner daily and had left her without hope and no view for a happy life.
Jennifer had been an Open Minds client and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant with 25 hours of support each week for more than two years, and it soon became clear to her Support Workers that they were witnessing some worrying behaviours.
The Open Minds team became increasingly concerned for her wellbeing, which led to them working with Jennifer to come up with a plan for her to relocate to a safe living arrangement.
The Open Minds team did everything they could to keep Jennifer safe, including keeping the plan secret from her abusive partner, assisting her to book a removalist, and boxing up her possessions while she stayed at a safe respite facility.
Jennifer’s Support Worker, Cindy, explained, “Jennifer’s safety was our focus when we helped with securing alternate accommodation as well as packing and arranging removalists.”
These days, Jennifer has reconnected with her family (including eight grandchildren), cultivated meaningful friendships and is generally more relaxed and happier.
Jennifer described that she is not afraid to try new things now and is excited that her physical health has improved also.
Cindy said: “Jennifer is a living and walking testament that good mental health can improve physical health.”
“It is fabulous to see that she is not having as many falls as she is no longer unsteady on her feet and far less breathless when moving around,” Cindy said.
The NDIS has also helped improve Jennifer’s safety at her new home by installing a medical alarm which includes an automatic fall detector and access for emergency support if needed.
The safe living arrangement has allowed Jennifer to spend time with close friends daily which would not have been possible without Open Minds actively supporting her to securing a new home.
“I’m so thankful for having the best Open Minds support workers Care Leader, they are amazing.”
The team spend time having fun and growing Jennifer’s independence, which has accelerated since she escaped the domestic violence situation.
Jennifer said: “I used to have panic attacks while shopping for groceries and have to leave the store, it all felt too much even with my Support Workers by my side. I can now go to the shops and buy myself some bread all by myself.”
The trusted and dependable relationships that Jennifer had with her Open Minds Support Workers meant that she knew she could reach out to them in her time of need.
Now that Jennifer is safe and secure in her new home, she is looking forward to achieving more goals in the coming year such as even more grocery shopping by herself, eating lunch out at venues and visiting her family interstate.
*Client name changed to protect her identity