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Older woman finds freedom from abusive partner

*Julia immigrated from Greece with her husband three decades ago. For the last decade, after her husband passed away, she lived with a partner who also acted as her carer due to a medical condition. The relationship recently turned fraught and became abusive. Her partner also developed a bad temper and frightened Julia with his aggression during their arguments.

After a particularly heated row that ended with crockery smashed against the wall, she decided to end the relationship. Julia was referred to Better Place Australia by the Orange Door. During a comprehensive risk assessment, Julia was able to identify the goals she would work on collaboratively with the family consultant.

She wanted her ex-partner to stop receiving the Carer’s Payment from Centrelink, she expressed the need for counselling for the relationship trauma she had experienced, as well as her desire to maintain a friendship with her ex-partner. The Family Consultant advocated to Julia the importance of safety, and identified the need to empower her to establish clear safe boundaries through safety planning and counselling.

Better Place Australia’s Family Consultant scheduled regular sessions with Julia over a five-month period. During these sessions, Julia discussed the complexity of ending the romantic relationship but recognised that she could not maintain a friendship with a person using violence. With the help of the Family Consultant, she sought an Intervention Order to maintain her safety.

The consultant helped her talk through her fear and guilt. Setting her individual goals was a new experience for Julia and the consultant helped her reflect and gain clarity on what she truly wanted in life. Julia and the consultant then worked on her decision-making skills so she felt empowered enough to make independent decisions.

By the end of the sessions, Julia felt very positive about having her ex-partner removed from Centrelink as her carer and from further contact from him. More importantly, her independence, confidence and happiness had also grown. Part of this came from being able to embark on an independent life which she had not experienced as an adult. This enabled her to live more fully and cultivate a more positive outlook on life.

Julia shared, “I feel like I am in control of my life and it’s a great feeling! I’m looking forward to each day now because I can spend it doing what I want to do without having to check with anyone else first.” 

* Name has been changed for privacy.

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