The Salvos helped Kate find freedom from abuse and now she wants to help others.
I met Ella’s father when I was 19. We quickly formed a relationship, and I became pregnant with Ella. During our relationship I was subjected to domestic violence—I experienced verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. I felt very controlled by my partner, and the impact of this abuse has continued to have a traumatising effect on Ella and me.
During my pregnancy I made a decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I stuck with my partner in the hope he would change, but the abuse continued and I eventually found the strength to leave when Ella was 14 months old.
My ex-partner continued to verbally and psychologically abuse me but at the time I didn’t understand that what I was experiencing was domestic violence. I blamed myself for his behaviour. Things came to a head when Ella witnessed her father physically assault his girlfriend during a contact visit with him.
I immediately ceased all contact between Ella and her father and applied to the Children’s Court for a violence restraining order to keep my daughter safe. It was at this point that I contacted The Salvation Army Lincoln Street Outreach Centre in Highgate (WA) for assistance after a friend recommended them to me.
My outreach worker explained to me that what I’d been experiencing was domestic violence, and made me aware of how it was affecting both myself and Ella. My awareness around the issues of domestic violence has grown and I can now see how I’ve been traumatised by the abuse. This awareness has helped me make important decisions about keeping both me and my daughter safe.
My outreach worker has been able to provide ongoing assistance and emotional support at Family Court hearings—which are very difficult for victims of abuse to attend. She also helped me express my trauma to lawyers at Court, and offered some information on the effects of domestic violence to the lawyers.
She referred me to the outreach centre’s counsellor and I now attend a group therapy program at the centre. She also referred Ella to a children’s counselling service.
Recently, I was able to share my testimony at a domestic violence workshop organised by my outreach worker and this was a pivotal moment for me. I was able to express my gratitude for all the support and assistance that the outreach centre has been able to provide to me.
I am now studying for a qualification in community services and want to find work in the future helping vulnerable young women.