DV Survival 101
1) Get an AVO/ADVO and REPORT EVERY BREACH!
2) get support from someone on our ‘Shortlist’ asap
3) keep records
4) if you call the police when he breaches AVO to bash you LET THEM CALL YOU AN AMBULANCE if they offer to. There are no prizes for being too brave & humble to want to bother the ambos! It will only negatively affect your justice outcome. If he bashed you or raped you or otherwise terrorised you GET MEDICAL INTERVENTION asap and document all that occurred!
5) get counselling and demand access to your own choice or better counselling if the one VS (Victims Services) lined up for you isn’t great!
6) that said DO use the VS worker the court first sends you to (eg: Bondi Cottage) for the things they actually CAN offer: help to pay or wipe bills, fee-free education and training… that’s pretty much it actually but it’s a LOT of help if you actually make use of it instead of getting too put-off by how useless they are as either counsellors or advocators to want anything to do with them! Use them for all they’re good for: hooking you up with vouchers & free training.
And don’t take it personally if they sabotage your ‘justice journey’ wether it’s obviously intentional or not! Just contact us (or another trusted advocate) to undo their ‘good work’ :)
7) keep your own record of VS counselling sessions (however brief or detailed is up to you but record important info like: if the VS worker told you they would do something or contact somebody on your behalf - make a note of it!)
8) If you have been the victim of a crime and you already have a police incident number go ahead and begin your application for a Victim’s Recognition Payment! It takes a long time to be processed and in our experience the VS counsellor or worker you are linked with by the court will NOT assist you - or even TELL you about it! - anyway.
It’s up to you so you may as well begin. We can help you apply as can any other ACTUAL advocate (eg: someone OTHER than Natalie Posada at Bondi Cottage who hilariously refers to herself as a ‘Victim’s Advocate for Victims’ Services’ but whom Victims’ Services quite wisely deny having any association with).
9) GO TO ANY AND EVERY COURT HEARING if you can at all do so. Even if you’re scared to see your abuser or too traumatised to get out much MAKE THE EFFORT to push yourself. If you don’t he will inevitably get bail or an extremely lenient outcome at court making you less safe than if you’d gone to court.
10) write and submit a VIS (Victim Impact Statement) and attend court to ensure that the magistrate is made aware of it (you do not have to read it out yourself but victim’s rights dictate that the magistrate should read it and consider it in sentencing your abuser).
You cannot rely on the women’s Court Advocacy Service to effectively advocate for you and work with you if they aren’t actually with you. You have to be there to get the care so GO TO ANY COURT HEARINGS THAT AFFECT YOU (every DV related one including AVO breaches).
11) be kind and gentle to yourself and remember that YOU’RE not the problem! You’re the victim. Soon to be: survivor! Take all the help that’s offered, document breaches of your rights, and never stop believing in yourself and the inherent goodness of most people.
12) when getting help to address DV related trauma, don’t be afraid to start making inroads on ALL your issues! It’s probably best to keep all your VS-assigned-Counsellor sessions focused on the DV but access other freely available counselling to address past trauma, family violence, sexual abuse… ANYTHING that weighs on you and holds you back and may have locked you into certain patterns of abusive relationships.
13) Including D&A support! Get help with any addictions (incl gambling) ASAP! It can seem like way more than you can handle when it seems like you already have so much you need to do but trust us! - getting help to beat addiction is TOP PRIORITY that should only come after:
- getting away from your abuser
- getting safe accommodation
- getting legal aid
- beginning your ‘justice journey’
After the aftermath:
…at this stage **you have probably gotten all the DV help and justice you will ever get. It probably fell short of what you deserved for what you had to endure but such is life. It’s over now.**
This is a great time to take what you have learned and apply it to your life going forward so you can continue to live with the freedom & safety you fought so hard to get.
Personal boundaries …take some time to think about what yours are and what you would ideally want them to be. Chances are that like many abuse survivors yours are a mixed bag of being overly trusting and giving and simultaneously highly distrustful, even paranoid.
Make an effort to examine yours and re-calibrate to a healthier set of boundaries. It’s less dangerous to give new people a chance if you have worked out that for you, your boundaries are that you INSIST on being safe with and respected by intimate partners and others and you will cut someone off the minute they show their contempt or misogyny and certainly: the FIRST time they abuse.
Accounting & accountability… you will probably still be struggling with debt incurred because of financial abuse. Obviously it was reasonable to ignore it when so many other more pressing things were going on but now you’re past the aftermath it’s time to address it as best you can. Get your free credit report from equifax and see what’s on it. Wether a debt listed is yours and you can begin to pay it off or it’s his or was incurred under duress you will need to first contact the creditor and speak to them. Many have Hardship and/or financial abuse protocols in place and will inevitably be very willing to help you clear your debt (and in rare circumstances may even waive a debt entirely!
Unlike ‘debt consolidation’ options, dealing with the debtors directly to manage debt under hardship or financial abuse terms will NEVER incur a fee and will save you some money and a lot of stress.
** If you are keen to ensure that your justice journey is not sabotaged by workers or services in the DV Sector that are supposed to HELP you the reality is: you need to be assertive and resourceful or get in touch with us or another trusted advocate to help you. If you have already been negatively affected by a service or worker in the DV Sector please email us:
so we can assist you**