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Dad and his daughters make a fresh start free from violence

After years of suffering emotional, verbal and physical violence David* and his daughters are bravely making a fresh start.

Over nearly two decades of marriage, David’s wife used controlling tactics to isolate and manipulate him and their two teenage daughters, Evelyn and Phoebe.

This included verbal abuse and escalating threats and violence. The result was that the East Gippsland family were isolated and in constant fear. Additionally, their home and household furniture were substantially damaged after several violent incidents.

“The violence had really been very vicious and it was an extremely unhealthy situation,” said Windermere caseworker Gayle.

Unfortunately, the unpredictable and irrational behaviours of David’s wife escalated over several years. They were also exacerbated by a problem with substance abuse.

Despite the violent behaviours of his wife David stayed in his marriage because he wanted to provide stability for Evelyn and Phoebe. He was also fearful of the consequences for himself and his two daughters if he did leave the relationship.

Events reached a terrifying climax when a male friend acting on behalf of his wife trespassed on the property when Phoebe and Evelyn were home alone. He threatened the terrified young teenagers and murdered their beloved pets in front of their eyes.

Following this horrific incident, the family were referred by the police to Windermere’s Victims Assistance Program (VAP), a State Government-funded program that supports victims of violent crimes to recover and also to navigate the justice system.

David’s wife left the home and David was awarded custody of Phoebe and Evelyn. Together with Gayle, his Windermere worker, David developed and implemented a safety plan for himself and his daughters. This included the installation of safety cameras on the property.

Windermere also organised a grant for the family so they could make repairs to their home and replace damaged furniture and household appliances. Their home was also repainted so they could make a ‘fresh start’ without visible reminders of the trauma they had experienced.

Additionally, Windermere provided assistance to support David, Phoebe and Evelyn through an ongoing court process, which has included making painful victim impact statements.

David, Evelyn and Phoebe, are all deeply traumatised and are receiving ongoing counselling.

Although they still face many challenges the family is now free to be safe and rebuild their lives.

*Details have been changed to protect privacy


For more information

Windermere’s Victims Assistance Program (VAP) is a voluntary program that provides confidential information, advice and supports for the needs that arise as a consequence of violent crime. This program is funded by the Victorian State Government through the Department of Justice & Community Safety (DOJCS).

You can find more about Windermere's range of services and how you can access them here.

For more information about Windermere's Victims Assistance Program visit here or call the team on 1300 946 337 or email


After hours support services:

If you need urgent after-hours support call Lifeline 13 11 14 or see a range of after-hours support services here. In an emergency call 000.