Case study: Intimate partner violence

 Laura

Facts

Laura experienced several decades of physical and psychological abuse from her husband, Bill. Laura had tried to leave Bill more than 20 years ago, but she could only access emergency accommodation for six weeks, after which she had nowhere else to go and so was forced to return home. This experience discouraged her from seeking help again until her health began to decline and she started to fear for her life.

Bill controlled every aspect of Laura’s life through mental torture and physical abuse. They lived in the outer suburbs and Laura became more and more isolated. The only social time she ever had was during her weekly visits to church where she was able to meet friends.

Action & Outcome

With the help of friends, Laura contacted Seniors Rights Victoria for assistance. Several services worked together with Laura and her friends to plan her escape from Bill. She wanted to make sure that this time the separation was safe and sustainable, given her previous experience of leaving had failed.

With assistance from a housing worker, Laura was able to access affordable housing and, on the day she was to move, the police applied for an Intervention Order on her behalf. Laura was terrified of the court process and so it was a relief to her that she was permitted to sit in a separate room from Bill when she attended court and not to have to face him in person.

Laura continues to build strength and resilience with the encouragement of her new-found friends and support services.