I was born in Australia and adopted out. I went into care – into institutional care – which was a very complex thing. Many people in my family’s community have experienced abuse. I’ve got autism, I’ve got ADHD, I consider myself to have a disability, and when you’re in a crisis situation, that can make things really hard. That was very true when I found myself impacted by family violence.
My support worker at EDVOS, Venna, was very good at communicating with me. She was patient and kind and compassionate and understood me. Venna was very good at being outcome focused for me, and getting things done.
From my perspective the biggest support, the practical supports from EDVOS, was the proactive approach, being able to make those reasonable adjustments for me. I have an inability due to trauma to put things in writing sometimes. Venna was very good at explaining what her role was, what she could and couldn’t do on my behalf, and make those reasonable adjustments. For example, she would take notes of what I said, send it to me and say, “I’ve dot-pointed what you’ve just said in your words.” She didn’t judge me.
When there were people I just couldn’t face, Venna would offer to speak with them, with my permission. That gave me hope in people because a lot of organisations don’t do that. They will make you do that yourself. When you’ve had gaslighting and psychological, emotional abuse, a lot of the times you doubt your own sanity and what’s actually happening.
A lot of the times I would say, “Oh, is this family violence? Is it me or is this wrong?” And Venna was very good at saying, "This is 100% family violence, this is 100% unacceptable. This is what family violence is."
I would say the integrity, the knowledge, the experience, the education, the confidence, the focus – being goal-focused and outcome-focused on safety and on what is needed, was the best thing I got from EDVOS.
Venna helped me articulate things and supported me in a way where I ended up representing myself in an extension for a family violence intervention order. I was told by the magistrate and my lawyer that no-one else could’ve done it better than me. Venna helped me to have hope.
My case worker supported me with deep care, wisdom and patience, even when I was overwhelmed. Without her, I wouldn’t be as hopeful.”