This month the Complete Parts and @ The Coalface $500 Community Gift goes to The Hunter Domestic Violence Support & Advisory Service (HDVSAS), a wonderful community organisation that assists women and children who have been or are experiencing domestic violence.
HDVSAS was established in 2009 and their mission is to help women and children in our community whose lives have been adversely affected by domestic violence. They educate, support and advocate, ensuring that all their clients have access to the services, resources, and opportunities available to them.
With at least one in six women experiencing violence at the hands of their partner, domestic violence is a serious problem in Australia and victims often have nowhere to turn.
HDVSAS Director Paula Mudd said that every community has a responsibility to provide a safe haven for women and their children experiencing domestic violence. Recognising a need for this in Cessnock, in 2013 they officially opened Jodie’s Place Refuge. The refuge is in memory of Jodie Jurd who died from domestic violence in November 2011. It offers a safe refuge home for up to 11 women and children.
Throughout the year HDVSAS also run workshops designed to support, empower, and strengthen women affected by domestic violence as well as offering creative therapy groups.
Their Phoenix workshop is designed to educate women about domestic violence and its many forms, and to also raise awareness about the impact domestic violence has on children. Paula explained that while people might think they are keeping domestic violence hidden from children, it never is.
“Children are always more aware of what is happening than they let on. Children exposed to violence in the home are at risk of serious long term physical and mental health problems. One aim of the Phoenix workshop is to educate women to understand the effect on their children.”
HDVSAS and Jodie’s Place are entirely run by volunteers with no government support. They rely on the generosity of donations they receive from the community, groups, and local businesses. And there’s lots of ways we can all help support the important work they do.
The Doo Stop Op Shop is located at 75 Maitland Street, Branxton and through it HDVSAS raise money for their support services by offering a range of great value pre-loved clothes. Donations of good condition, pre-loved clothing are always welcomed.
Cash donations can also be made directly through their website. No matter how big or small, every dollar helps. You can also donate white goods or other items that are in good working order that they will distribute to families in need.
HDVSAS volunteer Jo Kershaw said for anyone who needs help all they had to do was reach out.
“We understand how hard it is for those in domestic violence situations to ask for assistance, please rest assured we are here to support, empower and strengthen anyone who needs us. The hardest thing sometimes is to make that call, but once you do, we are here to help.”
“We also acknowledge that while the majority of domestic violence victims in Australia are women, female domestic violence against men occurs too. If you are male and are a domestic violence victim, we are also here to help you.”
“All forms of violence are unacceptable. With the support of the community, we will continue our mission of providing assistance to all those that need it.”