Safety and Serenity at Marian Centre
Monday 6 December 2021
The Marian centre is one of 11 Vinnies refuges for women and their children escaping domestic violence in NSW. This essential service provides long-term support and friendship at what can be an extremely vulnerable time for women and children, with the average stay being between 4-5 months.
This helps families escaping domestic violence to build new lives, through safe and secure accommodation, counselling, as well as support to find and transition to a permanent home.
It’s through the support of Vinnies donors that we’re able to provide lounges, cupboards, fridges, washing machines, crockery, pots, pans and all the household essentials that families need to make a house a home.
One of the women assisted through the Marian Centre, Amber, was at breaking point when she finally escaped the family home to seek refuge.
Coming to Australia as an asylum seeker, Amber thought her days of unrest were over after finding work, friends and marriage in her new country.
But when she became pregnant with her daughter, the once subtle verbal and physical abuse inflicted by her husband began to worsen. Working two jobs in aged care up until just three days before giving birth, Amber found herself trapped in a violent cycle dependent upon the man she thought would change.
When the physical abuse led her to the medical centre, she finally called the police and was connected with a Vinnies Emergency Refuge Centre.
“I took two pairs of pyjamas and what I was wearing… I didn’t have time to think. I just needed to go”
Supplied with accommodation, clothing, services and support for her and her daughter, Amber transferred to the Marian Centre. The team helped her apply for a new home, eventually finding a unit to suit their needs. “I was lucky, it was like I had family,” she says.
With assistance at every step of the way, and encouragement to achieve, Amber moved into her new unit and began studying Early Childhood Care.
With the support of Vinnies and her case worker, Amber found the strength to cut off her abusive relationship. “I found support that I would never find, perhaps even inside my family.”
Slowly rebuilding, Amber is taking the next steps for a happy and settled life, with her daughter now at school. She says that if she knew about Vinnies refuge centres earlier, she would have left a long time ago.
“I didn’t know that there is help like this, that they help you and they care” She says, “So I will ask anyone who can help, if they don’t know where this money is going or the people who need it … They change a life. With everything, they change a life.”