"After leaving refuge, survivors of domestic violence often have to rebuild their lives from the ground up. They have many practical needs for which there aren’t services or simple options available. Shine are really pleased to see Woven Earth providing practical individual support at this critical time. Such support can make an enormous difference to women and children in need giving them the chance to rebuild their lives with dignity and stay safe. It means so much to women and children going through a distressing time to know that others care about them enough to want to make their lives easier. We look forward to offering Woven Earth’s much needed services to our clients."
Jane Drumm, Shine General Manager
This charity is an essential link in the ability of family violence survivors to make a meaningful life for themselves and their children in the community.
Many women have to flee violent homes without money or possessions. Refuges have limited ability to provide these. By liaising with the Refuges to provide practical support for these women and their children in the form of furnishings for their new homes and by providing sporting and other recreational activities for their children, Woven Earth can support mothers in their decision to leave violent partners and help integrate them and their children into a new and non-violent community.
(Gail Ratcliffe is a Clinical psychologist who has worked in the areas of practice, university teaching, research and policy in New Zealand and the United States. She has been contracted as expert witness in the Courts in cases of family violence, presented evidence to Parliamentary committees considering bills on family violence, presented training seminars for Family Court Judges and psychologists on the effects of family violence and published articles in psychological and legal journals and textbooks on the impacts of violence and abuse.)
We work with Shine and Women's Refuge to help family violence survivors rebuild their lives by furnishing their houses with love and dignity to create a home for them to start the next chapter of their lives. Once people secure a place to live they need to then fill that house with furnishings that enable them and their children to live a dignified life where their basic needs are met.
The monumental task of providing for children on top of mental health issues place survivors in a vulnerable situation.
Children are often the hidden statistics in our reporting of family violence survivors. When a parent flees violence with their children they leave behind their treasured toys, their social circle and their personal possessions. Their life is tipped upside down. Although you can never replace these it can be the simple things that will make their lives happier and provide a sense of security. We support the children to walk the journey alongside their parent. We want to offer children the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities to help connect them to new communities and feel supported in their passions, a bike, some toys, art supplies or whatever their individual needs are we will work to provide.
When people flee violence they often leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Urgent needs are for survivors who are trying to set up after they leave and need one off items to help with this. This could be a pram, pantry items, a car seat, or even some bedding. The list is endless and is dependent on the needs of each person and their children. When urgent needs are identified by either Refuge or Shine we will then call out to our community to rally around with us and weave some magic to give support that is dignified and offers hope that people are not alone in their journey to rebuild their lives.
We all are connected in this world by our journey. No one is immune to hardship and it takes community to help you survive when the going gets tough. Community can be one person, a group of people or a collective of people who wrap around you with kindness and love to help you survive.
Knowing that there is a Woven Earth community working to offer the practical support survivors of family violence need to rebuild their lives gives a gift of hope and belief in the goodness that exists in Aotearoa!
How do victims begin again with dignity after family violence shatters their lives?
It is one thing to advocate for victims to speak out about family violence but for those that do, the reality becomes, #thenwhat! Survivors are faced with the overwhelming task of beginning again for themselves, their children and their future.
We see and hear stories of survivors escaping or - on those very sad but all too common cases- dying at the hands of an abusive partner. We need to also shed light on what happens to those who do escape with their lives. How do they survive after they leave? What challenges do they face and what real support systems do we have in New Zealand to wrap around these people?
Call Shine's Helpline for free from any phone in New Zealand, between 9am and 11pm, 7 days a week, on: 0508-744-633 Call Women's Refuge Crisisline: 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843