HELPING HANDS: Carmen Evans and Liz Harvey make up the beating heart of Helping Hands in Dalby.
HELPING HANDS: Carmen Evans and Liz Harvey make up the beating heart of Helping Hands in Dalby.

List of DV services in the southwest

Lifeline Darling Downs

Lifeline Darling Downs practice and program co-ordinator Samantha holds a passion for helping victims, children and perpetrators impacted by domestic violence – something that led her to Lifeline 18 months ago when she commenced her work in St George and Roma.

One integral part of her work is the Safe Connections program, which focuses on domestic violence violence, women’s wellbeing and educational programs for perpetrators.

The Safe Connections program received funding from the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women 18 months ago, and since then Miss Cornlieus and her staff have been assisting men, women, and children in the journeys to overcome their experiences with domestic violence.

Some of the services of Lifeline and the program include counselling, court-based services, perpetrator intervention programs, and children’s counselling services.

Together with other service providers, Miss Cornelius provides support to those impacted by domestic and family violence, and sexual abuse.

“It’s a lot of time spent with families from all aspects – the women, children, men,” Miss Cornelius said.

“It’s a lot of support and safety planning around how they can be safer in relationships.

“Not everyone wants to leave their relationship, they just want to be safer.”

One of the most “paramount” parts of the Safe Connections program is providing education for perpetrators.

In the southwest, domestic violence is not just a case of “man hits woman”. Perpetrators take all shapes and forms, and Miss Cornelius believes education is the first, most important step.

“The perpetrator groups are around informing perpetrators of the impacts on their kids,” she said.

“It’s a lot about making the accountable for their actions, and trying to get them to think about what they’re doing.”

One startling impact of domestic violence is the traumatic effect it can have on young children who grow up witnessing abuse.

“The first two years of life, what they see, can impact the rest of their lives,” Miss Cornelius said.

“The impacts of trauma on children are very significant and can manifest in different behaviours.”

Domestic Violence Action Centre

Domestic Violence Action Centre is a Toowoomba and Ipswich-based service that provide court support for women, counselling services for women and children, safety upgrades for women and children affected by domestic violence but wanting to stay in their homes, and sexual assault services.

Their goals centre around developing strategies to assist victims of the domestic violence through every part of their journey, from court assistance to rehabilitation.

The Centre describes themselves as “passionate leaders creating freedom from gender violence”.

Their programs include crisis response, women’s counselling and support, safety upgrades, children’s counselling, men’s behaviour change programs, sexual violence counselling, and community education and training.

Helping Hands

Liz Harvey and Carmen Evans provide a different, but equally important service for the Dalby community with their charity Helping Hands.

Focusing more on the physical, practical needs, the team put together hampers for babies, schoolchildren, and “domestic violence” packs which include clothing, personal hygiene items, and kitchen necessities.

Helping Hands are there to “ease the burden” for struggling parents.

“I like to give back,” Ms Harvey said.

“Seeing what’s coming through breaks your heart.

“As a charity, there’s not enough out there for everyone. We’re here to ease the burden of the other charities too and just assist where we can.”

When a new mum walks through their doors in need of assistance, their first step is to refer them to the Dalby Crisis Support Association, who help struggling families with financial assistance, finding a home, and parenting skills development.

Social media is their most powerful tool. In a Helping Hands Facebook group, they put call outs to the community for furniture and clothes when a parent walks in with just the clothes on their back and no place to go.

The organisation also runs food auctions, where parents can bid food in exchange for other necessities, or toys for their children.

The owners of Helping Hands believe as much as hampers and donations help families impacted by domestic violence, conversations need to be had to spread awareness of the impacts of violence in our community.

“It is worse than people realise,” Ms Evans said.

“Because DV is so hush-hush, and a lot of the mums are scared to speak out in public, a lot of them are in hiding.

“If they were able to talk about it like the coronavirus, then people would actually realise what was going on in their own town.

“Unfortunately DV has always been hush-hush.”

Helping Hands have had to close their doors due to new coronavirus regulations, however their online bargain shop will continue operating.

Dalby Crisis Support Association can be reached through emails and telephone only on 4669 8499.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, do not hesitate to make contact with a professional, and seek help:

DV Connect Womensline: 1800 811 811

DV Connect Mensline: 1800 600 636

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Sexual Assault Helpline: 1800 010 120

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Domestic Violence Action Centre: 4642 1354

Sexual Assault Support Service (Toowoomba): 4616 6950

Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service: 1800 88 77 00

Dalby Crisis Support Association: 4669 8499

Domestic Violence Regional Service (South West): 4639 3605

Working Against Abuse Service (Roma, St George and Mitchell Courts): 4622 5230

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