Amanda Throws Support Behind Safe HouseAmanda Oliver is passionate when talking about women who have become homeless because of family violence. Like many, she’s exasperated that women, who leave a violent home, often to protect their children, end up with nowhere to go. It’s one of the reasons she threw her support behind McAuley Care, the McAuley Community Services for Women’s safe house. The safe house provides secure and welcoming accommodation for women and their children. In the past year, McAuley Care supported 380 women and children.
“These women have a right to be kept safe and to have somewhere to go once they leave their homes. It must be so scary for a woman who makes the decision to leave, knowing that she will be financially lost in some cases. If she has no income and she just walks away, the road ahead is tough,” Amanda said. “So we need to ensure the safe house can keep running day and night, 365 days a year.”
Amanda’s commitment to the safe house is the reason she is working hard, as part of an enthusiastic committee, to stage McAuley Community Services for Women’s biggest fundraiser, the TwentyFour/7 Cocktail Party on Thursday 5 March 2015 at the stunning Federation Court – National Gallery of Victoria.
It’s Amanda’s second year on the committee and she promises a great night to all who attend. The cocktail party will feature delicious food by Peter Rowland Catering, fine wine and wonderful auction prizes, while raising more than $100,000 to keep open the doors of Victoria’s only around the clock safe house.
Amanda, the mother of teenage twin girls, agrees it’s difficult to imagine the trauma faced by families who live with violence, but a few years ago in her work in early childhood she became aware of an incident involving a family and it ‘broke her heart’. Subsequent media coverage and a deep understanding of the service provided at the safe house have galvanized her commitment to support women who face family violence.
“I think more and more people now understand family violence, but I don’t think people understand how big the problem is and the fact that families from all socio-economic backgrounds are affected. People used to think that family violence was a problem that affected a certain group of people. But most of us now know that this isn’t the case,” she said.
“I visited the safe house once and walking through there I couldn’t speak. It hit me what a rough road ahead faces the women who seek shelter and safety there.”
This year, of the 380 women and children McAuley Care supported, 128 were children, 65% were five years old or younger, 30% were primary school aged while only 5% were secondary school age. The majority of women were aged 20 to 44. Eighteen women were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and 149 came from other countries. During the average stay of four to seven days, staff provided access to legal, financial and medical, housing and emotional advice and support.
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