McAuley helped Melanie rebuild her life

The moment Melanie* closed the door behind her, she felt her world fall apart.

"I lost everything the night I left. My home, my family, my belongings..." Melanie, 36, says.

Despite enduring 10 years of abuse from her husband, Melanie only had time to pack a small bag of clothes before she fled.

"For so many years, I didn't have the courage to leave."

"I gave my husband endless chances to change, but he didn't."

"He was controlling, and the violence kept getting worse. The abuse got so bad, though, I knew I couldn't stay a day longer."

While much of the night she left is a blur, Melanie remembers it was raining when she arrived at the McAuley Care safe house from the police station.

"I was cold, scared and alone. I couldn't understand why this was happening to me."

"The team at McAuley Care was so caring and supportive. For the first time, in such a long time, I felt safe."

"Through the safe house, I was able to access medical and legal services, and I was provided with meals and the things I didn't think to pack, like toiletries."

"We talked through my options, and together we decided I would move to McAuley House."

Melanie said that within a couple of weeks of arriving at McAuley House, she felt at home.

"Having a safe place to live... I can't describe how that feels."

"McAuley House is such a giving place. There is so much compassion."

"Everyone works so hard to lift your spirits and keep you feeling engaged. I learn something new each day I am there."

"My case manager has been beside me every step of the way. She has been such a positive influence in my life."

"McAuley House offers so many opportunities for residents to create happy memories, to replace the painful ones from our past."

"It's the simple things like celebrating a birthday, spending time in the garden, going out for a coffee or enjoying a massage that makes all the difference to your wellbeing."

During her time at McAuley House, Melanie was connected to the McAuley Works employment program.

"Securing employment was the key to starting a new life – I have gained new-found financial independence, and have made so many new friends."

Today, Melanie works part-time in catering and studies two nights a week. She also volunteers her time at other McAuley programs.

"The support I received has been life-changing."

"Without McAuley, I have no doubt in my mind that I would have been forced to return home to the abuse, pain and unhappiness."

"Instead, I feel strong, more confident and finally, in control of my life," Melanie says.

"I feel like I'm on top of the world!"

Please help women like Melanie rebuild their lives by making a donation today.

*Name has been changed