16 March 2020

Card helps pay it forward for domestic violence support service

| Michael Weaver
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From left, Julie Hathaway (coordinator South Eastern Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service), Liz Martin (former staff member of Molonglo Support Services), Carol Willis (board member), Carolyn Brooks (artist of the fundraising card), Nichole Overall (patron Molonglo Support Services) and Narelle Sargent (board chair, Molonglo Support Services). Photo: Supplied.

Molonglo Support Services, which began as a safe place for women and children escaping abuse in Queanbeyan and the surrounding area, has commemorated 40 years of caring for people impacted by domestic and family violence.

The not-for-profit charity provides critical support services and marked the occasion with a special 40th-anniversary card designed by local artist Carolyn Brooks.

Molonglo Support Services chairperson Narelle Sargent said the card was a special part of its anniversary and also forms part of their fundraising activities.

Ms Sargent said the card works in the same way as sending flowers, except people can make a donation to the Service and nominate someone they would like to have the card sent to. That person will be told a donation has been made on their behalf.

“We will be marking our 40th anniversary by launching a card designed by local artist Carolyn Brooks to increase much-needed funds so Molonglo can continue to provide essential services to its increasing number of clients,” said Ms Sargent.

“In addition, the service will hold a number of awareness and fundraising activities during the year to support victims of domestic and family violence and people who are homeless.”

A former client of the service said she did not know where to go for assistance and support.

“I was broken both physically and mentally. I was referred to the Louisa Domestic Violence Service [the original name of the refuge]. They provided me with a safe place to stay and ongoing support to both myself and children. Without this assistance, I don’t know where I would be today. Thank you.”

Ms Sargent said the Molonglo service started as a safe place for women and children to escape abuse occurring in the home.

In 1979, the Louisa Women’s and Children’s Services was founded by a group of women living in the local area who were inspired by the ideas of feminism and women’s rights that began to take hold in the late 1960s and into the 1970s.

The refuge was named after Louisa Lawson, Australia’s first female journalist and mother to poet and writer Henry Lawson. The new centre, at its current location, was officially opened by Louisa’s granddaughter in 1998.

Molonglo Support Service provides support to the Louisa Domestic Violence Service, Your Place Housing Support Service, South Eastern Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service and crisis and transitional accommodation in Queanbeyan.

The inaugural patron since November 2019, Nichole Overall, says it’s a great honour to be associated with Molonglo.

“These are critical services within our community, accommodating and supporting people affected by domestic violence or who are experiencing homelessness,” she says.

“In addition, supporting people through the legal system in such trying and stressful times is of vital importance to those suffering in this way.

“I’m pleased to be able to help in whatever small way I can, at the least, generating greater community awareness about not just the service but the ongoing impact of domestic violence on our local families and what can be done about it.”

Molonglo’s executive officer Janette Dale said there have been many changes since the organisation was established.

“Molonglo has been flexible in meeting the needs of our community. Nonetheless, providing services to those who have experienced abuse, homelessness and poverty is just as relevant and challenging today as it was then,” Ms Dale said.

To donate or for more information, visit the Molonglo Support Services website or the service’s Facebook page.

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on The RiotACT.

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