THERESA O’Dea is helping victims of domestic violence through a series of free group sessions in Wonthaggi.
She is the founder of Hopeishope11, a non-for-profit organisation aiming to help inform, educate and support victims of domestic violence.
“It’s about protecting us women and kids. The cycle of violence starts at home and often moves down the generations.
“It’s a group for women who have suffered domestic violence or for women who are
experiencing it.”
Ms O’Dea, a victim of domestic violence herself, is pushing for financial support
for victims.
“My perpetrator just wore me down.
“When I started going out with guys again, I started picking these guys (who were violent).
“Quite often we leave and we don’t get anything,” she said, adding that many victims just want an opportunity to start a new life.
She is also frustrated with the family court system and understands that while there have been attempts to fix it, it remains complicated.
“Children get involved and they don’t see Mum and Dad the way Mum and Dad see each other.”
Ms O’Dea added there is a lack of programs for victims of domestic violence, especially those that reach out to regional communities.
“The government is wasting a lot of money on advertisements about domestic violence.
“Women are still stuck, and they’re absolutely devastated and bruised. They just want to get out (of the relationship).
“We need it here, we need a collaboration of girls who sit down together and can have a coffee or a tea.
“This group will help to educate about how and why domestic violence starts. It’s about protecting our mental health.”
According to the results of a Personal Safety Survey, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2012, it was estimated around 467,000 women in Australia had, within the previous 12 months, experienced violence, physical and/or sexual.
The group will meet monthly at Mitchell House in Wonthaggi, beginning Friday, May 5. The groups are open to women and children. For more information, call Ms O’Dea on 0416 866 699.