Seamless and Responsive Support
Jane presented at a Homelessness Support Service after fleeing her home overnight and sleeping in her car due to family violence. The crisis team completed a referral with the client's consent to see a Safe Futures outreach family violence worker who provided emotional support to Jane and completed a risk assessment and safety plan. Although there had been a long history of family violence in the relationship Jane had not disclosed the violence to anyone and had, therefore, not made any reports to the police or been assisted by family violence services. Jane had a health condition and suffered from depression and anxiety.
The family violence worker initially made referrals to Centrelink and for specialist family violence counselling and provided information about an Intervention Order. The worker continued to provide emotional and practical support, whilst the housing crisis team stabilised accommodation. The homelessness support service was able to place Jane in short term accommodation until her ex-partner left the property and she could move back in with additional safety measures. A referral was then made to Safe Futures' Safe in Community program for continued support. Longer term case management could be provided for Jane at Safe Futures, which minimised the need for Jane to retell her story and allowed her to continue with a worker whom she had built a relationship with.
Responding to Children
"7 year old Jake has experienced significant family violence trauma and rejection from those closest to him, resulting in him developing many fears and anxiety.
Jake was referred to Safe Futures therapeutic children’s case manager. Through engagement in activities of interest and building trust and rapport with the worker, Jake was slowly able to express his fears and feelings and talk about his experiences.
Jake was provided with a quilted blanket (donated by Waverley Quilters Guild) by his case manager. He immediately wrapped it around him, saying it was not a blanket but rather a "cape".
They named the blanket his "safety cape" and Jake immediately took to the idea that this cape would keep him safe if he felt scared. Jake used his cape to assist him to sleep at night.Over the course of involvement with the SFF children’s case manger Jake was able to identify his strengths, develop his confidence and identify strategies to make him feel safe."
Refuge to Recovery. A continuum of support
Salma and her 2 children came to refuge as it was no longer safe to be at home due to family violence. Salma was 8 months pregnant. She did not have any family in the country. Salma was from Bangladesh and she needed an interpreter.
Salma’s children were very anxious and nervous, refusing to leave her side. Salma’s priority was to establish stable housing and income support given the impending birth of her third child.
Salma’s case worker assisted with Centrelink payments, medical appointments and developing a birthing plan. They sourced funding to purchase essentials including bassinettes’, cots, linen, towels, clothing, nappies and prams. The children’s worker spent time with Salma’s children engaging in activities and encouraging them to spend longer periods away from their mother. This allowed Salma to meet with her worker to discuss her experiences, legal and financial needs and safety. It was also an opportunity to prepare the children for separation when Salma went into labor.
The children’s worker was able to secure an emergency foster placement. Meet and greets were organized and information on the children’s needs, including cultural needs and routines were identified.
Very specific and clear plans were put in place some weeks before Salma’s due date for a coordinated response when she went into labor.
Salma commenced her labour late at night and as agreed contacted the SFF after hour’s worker. An ambulance was called and Safe Futures after hour’s staff transported the children to the foster family as agreed.
Post the birth the children were supported to visit their mother in hospital and make calls.
After discharge from hospital Salma was anxious and made daily calls to her worker. The baby was unsettled and was not sleeping, and the children were clingy and teary. Anxiety due to trauma, legal proceedings, financial stress and housing uncertainty can affect feeding and sleep routines. Babies can be unsettled and children can become anxious and more demanding. Regular check ins were required to support Salma. Linking Salma into enhanced maternal health and liaising with the hospital social worker was critical at this time as was a short period of assistance with cleaning and household chores. In time the baby settled.
Safe Futures was able to nominate Salma for transitional housing providing more stability and certainty. The children’s worker was able to assist Salma to apply for childcare in their local community and look for playgroups. Salma began to develop a friendship with a neighbor. Salma was beginning to feel safe and connected. Salma will start English classes soon and is exploring long term housing options.