Horsham woman shares her family's struggle with family violence

MOVING FORWARD: A support system for a family violence survivor is important to help them recover from the abuse, a Horsham mother says.
MOVING FORWARD: A support system for a family violence survivor is important to help them recover from the abuse, a Horsham mother says.

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A HORSHAM woman's life changed overnight, three years ago, after learning her daughter had escaped a toxic relationship.

With one phone call, the woman became the sole support system for her daughter during her recovery.

“I went into a different zone. I became a different person. I was not only a mum, but I suddenly had to be in control,” she said.  

Today the woman said her daughter and four grandchildren had escaped a toxic environment of violence, drug abuse and manipulation.

She said the perpetrator was her daughter’s carer at the time and had abused her trust.

“He gave her injections and said they were vitamins, but he was actually injecting her with ice,” she said.

“It made her very ill. She weighed 37 kilograms when she left – and possibly had only a few months to live."

The woman said she tried to help her daughter to the best of her abilities, but “organisations let [them] down".

Her four grandchildren remained in the care of the perpetrator.    

“She couldn’t get her children back because they said she wasn’t fit enough, but we had support services say she was,” she said.

“She was told that the only way she was going to see her children was if she moved back into the area where she came from. It put her back into the situation where domestic violence could happen again.”

History repeated and within six months, the perpetrator was back in her daughter’s life - but “luckily she was strong enough this time".

“She made it home, lived with me for a few months and has become stronger to move on,” she said.

“She brought the children back this time and she said no-one is taking them from her and she has proven she is fit enough. But, she still has a long way to go and the scars will always be there.”

Providing her daughter and grandchildren with support throughout the process meant the woman spent about $30,000 from her savings during a 12-month period.

After ensuring her daughter was safe, the woman sought legal advice and lodged a claim for expenses through a victim assistance program.

However, receipts were required for evidence.

“Who was worrying about receipts when I was seeing my daughter and grandchildren suffering? I wasn’t worried about receipts - I was worried about their lives,” she said.

She asked without family support – emotional and financial – where do a lot of survivors of family violence turn to?

​“The government needs to realise that the survivor’s family plays a big part in helping them through. When do they need to realise that we need help ... I need help?”

The woman could not be identified for legal reasons.

  • If you, or someone you know, needs help phone 1800RESPECT