Journey from Violence to Safety

“If it wasn’t for McAuley Care, I would have stayed with the violence. I had nowhere else to go. It was either flee or be killed.”

“It was like Christmas. The care, practical and gentle support I received at the safe house will remain with me for ever. When I am settled, I will go back to nursing. For the moment, I have hope.”

Over 150 guests were taken on a special Journey from Violence to Safety to learn more about what it takes to escape family violence, and the support they receive from McAuley Care.

The Journey was the focus of this year’s 24/7 Cocktail Party, an incredible event run by the Special Events Committee each year to raise $100,000 to keep the safe house open around the clock. Without this, the safe house would only operate during business hours.

Guests were asked at the front door to turn off locations on their mobile phone to avoid being tracked. The grim message highlighted the reality of family violence, and marked the start of a journey where guests were invited to experience the emotions of what it takes to make the courageous first steps to safety and hope.

It costs $1,000 for a woman and her child/children for a week at McAuley Care. This covers safe accommodation and food for seven days;access to advice on medical, legal, schooling and housing services;initial counselling; andchildren’s access to a play room, providing some ‘normalcy’ in a time of crisis.

This year, so far, McAuley Care has assisted 110 women and 118 children. Of these, 17 women were pregnant, or they arrived with new born babies; 75 women had diagnosed depression or anxiety; 62 women were granted an Intervention Order while at the safe house; 51 women either went onto refuge while 20 went to family and friends.

Held at Greenfields Albert Park, the cocktail party was emceed by Rebecca Maddern, a long-term supporter of the 24/7 event.

Chantelle Delaney provided the entertainment for the special evening. She has performed with Grammy Award winner David Foster at the pre-Oscars in LA, Olivia Newton John at sold out concerts and has been heard by millions around the world through radio and TV appearances. Currently she is working on an album with Grammy Award winners in LA.

Jocelyn Bignold, CEO of McAuley Community Services for Women, applauded the tireless work of the Special Events Committee - Jodie Holckner, Amanda Oliver, Sarah Orloff, Alicia Pau, Monique Rosshandler, Emily Slade and Kim Thurlow – thanking each of them for their commitment each year to give women and their children hope and safety.

“Your support, and everyone’s generosity, gives hope and enables us to provide the support women and their children need at a particularly stressful time of their lives,” Jocelyn said.

Committee member, Emily Slade said: “I am grateful to be part of a committee that raises funds and awareness about an issue that touches everyone, whether they know it or not, as sadly family violence pervades every part of our community.It makes our hard work worthwhile to know that the funds we raise go directly to help women and children in need, without any resources or support which so many of us take for granted, and to hear the real yet seemingly "unreal" stories of those who walk through McAuley's doors in crisis and then come out safe and supported on the other side.”

Caption: Sarah Orloff, Kim Thurlow, emcee Rebecca Maddern, Emily Slade, Amanda Oliver, Alicia Pau and Monique Rosshandler.