For Jane*, domestic violence wasn’t physical. This doesn’t make it any less violent or damaging.

She was homeless and broken after leaving her narcissistic partner last year. Domestic and family violence includes different types of abuse where perpetrators use behaviours to gain power and control over their victim.

A current housing shortage means women like Jane are staying in damaging relationships or becoming homeless when they leave.

“I walked away and signed over the lease for my mental health reasons. I had been wanting to leave for a very long time. I stayed because I had a roof over my head. And I found myself homeless when I left.”

It’s been ten months since she left, and Jane is still searching for a place of her own. She experienced constant verbal abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, psychological abuse, and social isolation from her partner.

“He never worked once while I was with him. We had nothing when we met. By the end, we had boats, kayaks, camping gear, fishing gear, and four televisions. I walked away with none of it.”

“My doctors and counsellors tell me it’s domestic violence. He would take my asthma sprays and hide them, he would lie to me all the time, he would ring me at work and cause dramas – like tell me Mum was in hospital when she wasn’t.”

“He would tell me I’m screwed because I don’t have children and I am 43. He’d hide my car keys before I left for work, or throw my shoes in the bin. I’d actually find them in the bin. I wasn’t allowed to have anyone over or to use social media,” said Jane.

Subjected to her partner’s ongoing abuse, Jane began to drink. “I just thought my life was over basically, so I really hit the alcohol. But I sought help.”

Jane is now working through the trauma of domestic violence and homelessness. Weekly group therapy sessions support her mental health. Jane met our BaptistCare HopeStreet team who provided her with emergency food support and assisted her in gaining temporary accommodation, and continues to support her in her search for permanent housing. She currently feels safe in shared housing.

“I currently have two job opportunities to choose from... when it rains it pours. A place of my own is all I need now.”

Did you know, the following behaviours are forms of violent abuse?

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You can visit HopeStreet's More Than Skin Deep website, which raises awareness around recognising and responding to domestic and family violence. 

*Names have been changed.