‘Eternally grateful’ for support

A victim of domestic violence said she left her husband the night he “came home drunk, attacked my grandson and then hit me”.

But last week Jenny, who did not wish to disclose her surname, said when she looked at herself in the mirror, she finally felt as though she was becoming her own person.

The 64 year-old shared her story with The Express last week in the hope to let other victims know “there is so much help out there”.

About 16 months after the police became involved and took Jenny “to a safe place”, she will tell you she feels happy, settled.

“I feel like a whole person – I feel free,” she said.

“I wake up some mornings and I am filled with laughter; I’m so happy when I look around my surroundings and see it’s my own and no one is fighting with me.

“I feel part of the community, it’s a small community, but… I’ve met a lot of people and I’m living in a very happy environment.”

Last week, Jenny participated in a ‘Dignity Day’ hosted at Federation Training in collaboration with Quantum Support Services and the Morwell Neighbourhood House.

She was treated to a day of pampering – a hair and beauty session – at the hands of Fed Training students enrolled in the ‘VET in Schools’ program.

When asked how the indulgence felt, she said “you’ve got no idea how a bit of drying my hair or washing it, how it makes me feel so special”.

After Jenny left her husband, she was referred to Quantum – the primary provider of family violence services in Latrobe, Baw Baw and Wellington – for help.

She was initially taken into emergency accommodation before Quantum helped her find a unit of her own.

“(Quantum has given me) the tools on how to move forward and they just give me continuous support all the time that I will be eternally grateful for,” she said.

“They made me feel like a person again.”

In her former life, Jenny was a registered nurse, health counsellor, worked with indigenous people and in drug and alcohol services for several years.

She said she didn’t leave her marriage until the night the police became involved, because she didn’t previously have the courage nor the financial backing.

But looking forward, Jenny is hoping to run groups for women with similar experiences, “to tell them it’s okay”.

“There is help there and no matter how dark your world is, it will come good,” Jenny said.

“You will see the light at the end and it will be a whole new world for you.”

If you are experiencing family violence phone the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732.

If you feel your behaviour may be violent towards your partner and would like to talk to someone, phone the Men’s Referral Service on

1300 766 491.

There are some who may not think twice about paying for a hair or beauty treatment.

But there are others who cannot afford to spend their money on such luxuries.

Last week three organisations came together – Federation Training, Quantum Support Services and the Morwell Neighbourhood House – to help vulnerable women build their confidence and self-esteem.

“It’s an opportunity to bring these three agencies together and actually work to our strengths to do something that’s really, really important to our ladies that have attended,” Morwell Neighbourhood House manager Tracie Lund said.

“It’s about the social connections as well as that feel-good approach… and providing them an experience that quite often some women are unable to have.” The Dignity Day began last year in an effort to boost Quantum clients’ confidence and expose them to educational, training or employment opportunities. Fed Training hairdressing teacher Kate Collings said the day brought about a two-way partnership within which both the students and the women would benefit.

“It’s always nice to get your hair done, isn’t it?,” Ms Collings said.

“It makes them feel good and for some of them, they don’t have that opportunity to be out and mixing with young people, seeing what they’re doing.

“It’s a two-way partnership really, it’s good for those ladies and it’s really good for the students.”

Quantum coordinator of housing, homelessness and community support Adrian Terranova said the initiative was something the organisations were looking to continue to build.