Sisters of Charity Foundation meets with domestic violence survivors
Foundation staff and supporters had the rare opportunity to meet domestic violence survivors and the inspirational women who help them, during a visit to Moving Forward in late 2019.
Every year the Sisters of Charity Foundation provides grants to small community organisations that break down social isolation and alleviate the impact of poverty on individuals and families.
Moving Forward has been a recipient of our Community Grants Program for six years. The organisation is a specialist case management service for women and children who are experiencing, escaping or have left domestic and family violence. Based in Sydney’s south, it provides comprehensive practical support as well as therapeutic and educational workshops and case management.
How does a Community Grant help domestic violence survivors?
“For the past six years the Sisters of Charity Foundation has supported our organisation with an annual grant of $10k,” says Moving Forward Manager Jan Christie. “Every year we purchase grocery vouchers to distribute to the women and children we support.
“We have found if they are able to financially support themselves and their family they are less inclined to stay or go back to an abusive relationship.”
“We’ve had quite a few vouchers over time,” says mum-of-five Jessica*. “I have a lot of kids to feed! Without the vouchers we would not have had anything to eat many weeks so we’re very grateful.”
“My caseworker offered me a grocery voucher and I was like – oh my God, I can’t believe it!” says Evie*, a Moving Forward client for just over two years. “It was like a Godsend. I was wondering how I was going to buy food over Christmas and that was the best present ever. I’ll never forget that.”
Gaining an insight into domestic violence
Foundation staff and supporters sat down with Moving Forward’s staff and clients for lunch, and spoke with domestic violence survivors who were ready to share their stories.
“It’s hard to leave a relationship after so many years when you’ve got five kids. Where are you going to go? You’ve got no job, you’ve got nothing left because they’ve stripped you of every bit of dignity,” says Jessica. “So you stay.”
Nerida* left her abusive ex when her baby daughter was just five weeks old. She struggled to deal with feelings of shame until a Moving Forward workshop changed her view. “The most important thing I learned is that it’s not our fault. I was always second guessing myself, there was a lot of self-blame, thinking if I did something different maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” she explains.
“The shame factor is huge,” Jan confirms. “No matter how much we educate the community about domestic violence, that internalised shame is with every single woman. It’s deeper than embarrassment, it’s deeper than humiliation – it’s internalised self-hatred.”
“We’re grateful to gain this deeply personal insight,” says Sisters of Charity Foundation Chairperson Richard Haddock. “Although we’ve had regular updates from Moving Forward over the years, there’s nothing quite like hearing directly from someone your donation has helped. For me it reinforces why we do what we do.
“Moving Forward provides a much-needed service to the community and we’re proud to support them.”
The Sisters of Charity Foundation is supporting domestic violence survivors
Our Community Grants program helps fund community programs that help those experiencing domestic violence escape unsafe situations and start a new life.
Right now, we know that many small organisations working in the domestic violence space are facing unprecedented demand for their services – without the resources they need. The Sisters of Charity Foundation is working to get desperately needed funds to the front lines as fast as possible.
But we can’t do it without your help. Please donate now to our Winter Appeal.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.
How we help
Each year we’re able to make a difference to thousands of people across the country with funds generously donated by compassionate Australians. We support initiatives that focus on benefiting the disadvantaged, marginalised and socially isolated people in our community.