What happens when home is no longer a safe place to be?

It’s difficult to imagine how unbearable life would have to become for someone to choose homelessness as the safer option to remaining at home.

This was the position 33-year-old Heather* and her eight-year-old son Lucas found themselves in last winter during another drunken rage by Heather’s husband Chris.

Heather and Lucas had actually fled a number of times before, but each time turned back. Heather felt sorry for Chris and didn’t want to break up her family. She also had no idea where they could go.

But this time was different. Chris was more out of control than usual, and Heather feared for Lucas and her own safety. In that moment, she made the brave decision to leave.

“I can’t do it anymore. We have to get out.”

This time, however, Heather had a plan. She’d been meeting secretly with a domestic violence specialist from Mission Australia, and together they’d developed a safety plan if they were ever in danger again.

Heather and Lucas jumped in the car took off.

Reclaiming life, one day at a time.

Heather met with her Mission Australia case worker Fiona the following day, who arranged for them to stay in a safe house out of town.

After years of fear, they could finally breathe.

During their time at the safe house, Fiona helped them apply for, and secure, housing. Mission Australia helped them move in and supplied furniture and other items they needed to get started in their new home.

Heather recently started a new job, and Lucas has settled in at school. Heather knows they owe their newfound safety and independence to the generosity of people like you.

“Thank you for caring about us. A really, really big thank you.”

Families escaping domestic violence and homelessness need your help.

More than 114,000 people sought help from specialist homelessness services in 2016-17 because they were fleeing domestic violence.1

Independence is precious. Your support allows individuals and families who have been forced into homelessness to get the help they need to regain their independence – or grasp it for the first time. Please donate today.

*Names and Images have been changed to protect the identities of the people we helped.

1. AIHW (2017) Specialist Homelessness Services 2016-17