Posted on: 12/05/2020

Finding a safe home

Your home should be your safe haven. But what happens when being at home constantly reminds you of your traumatic past?

Recovery in the aftermath of family violence is more realistic when families can be safe and secure.

Windermere is currently partnering with WAYSS to provide transitional housing and support services to families who are trying to rebuild their lives and escape from family violence situations.

WAYSS is managing a new transitional housing complex which was opened late last year in the Cardinia area. Windermere is providing family support services for those who are being accommodated.

“We are finding that now our families have somewhere safe and secure to live the healing process is much more effective. Our service is there to help them to develop the life skills and community connections that will support them to make important life changes,” says Windermere’s Integrated Family Services Program Coordinator, Emily Kein.

The new housing was built thanks to funding from the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation and is a collaboration between Cardinia Shire Council and community organisations.

The women and children in the program have all been homeless or at risk of homelessness due to family violence.

The families who have moved in to the new complex are living in a mix of single and double store units, comprising of two, three and four bedrooms, for a period of up to two years.

A place of healing

Eliza* and her three children moved into housing accommodation to escape significant family violence perpetrated by Eliza’s husband.

Worryingly, Toby, age six, Jessica age four and Eloise, just two years old, were all suffering from a range of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties as a result of the severe trauma they had experienced.

Toby was continually soiling his bed and all three children were co-sleeping with Eliza as they were too terrified to sleep in their own beds at night.

Eliza was very concerned about four year old Jessica who was displaying some very disturbed behaviours. She was terrified that this could result in harm to Jessica or to her younger sister Eloise.

Sadly, Jessica was also showing signs of developmental delays in her speech and ability to communicate, potentially as a result of the trauma she had suffered. 

Once Windermere had supported Eliza and her family to move into the new complex and away from the place of their trauma, the healing process was able to begin.

Since moving into a safe and more settled environment, the behaviours that the children were displaying decreased dramatically.

The family services worker organised for Eliza and the children to receive trauma counselling, which is being delivered through online means due to the COVID-19 situation. 

After being in the house for a few months, Jessica is showing significant improvements with her speech and can now communicate her needs in a calm manner.

Toby has stopped soiling his bed every night and the family are getting some much needed rest in their own, separate beds every night

With a safe place to live, away from the scenes of their previous trauma, the family can make a new start.

*details changed to protect privacy

To find out more about Windermere's Family Violence Case Management services talk to the team on 1300 946 337, mail or visit here.