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Family Violence Support

Charlotte's* Story

It was a daily occurrence for Charlotte to be humiliated, yelled at, controlled, not allowed access to any money or permitted to make any decisions, and restrictions on seeing her family and friends. Charlotte has a mild intellectual disability and the abuse she received was from her carer.

The abuse had started to escalate and after being on the receiving end of verbal abuse and threatening behaviour for 3 consecutive days, Charlotte sat in the bottom of the shower (the only place she could be alone) and cried and cried. She decided to get on a bus and head into town, one of the few things she was allowed to do on her own. While sitting on the bus she said to herself "that's it, I'm not going home. I can't take this anymore." That was the beginning of Charlotte taking charge of her life and her first steps into freedom.

Charlotte arrived at WRISC feeling scared and alone. As she waited to talk to someone she kept saying to herself "Don't cry. Be strong. This is right." The WRISC worker listened to Charlotte's story and Charlotte says "This was the first time I had spoken about this to anyone. I had been holding it all in for so long. I had felt like I was going to burst. It was so nice to tell someone. I felt better. The worker helped me to be strong in my decisions, she encouraged me and helped me feel courageous."

WRISC placed Charlotte in emergency accommodation while more permanent arrangements could be made. WRISC managed to source some housing, suitable for people with a mild intellectual disability. Charlotte finally had a place to call her own. Somewhere she would be safe, independent and free.

There are still some challenges ahead. Charlotte admits to feeling lonely at times, and the freedom to make decisions can sometimes also make her feel overwhelmed. But in the same breath Charlotte says

... but I feel different now. I feel free. I am my own boss. I am taking charge of my life.

Charlotte loves that she is now able to cook things for herself, go shopping, organise and look after herself.

Charlotte's relationship with her family has also significantly improved. She is now able to see them whenever she wants and spend as much time as she likes with them. 

Charlotte comments that "I felt special and important when I came to WRISC. Each time I came they were so generous. They gave me a hot drink and biscuits, care packs, a scarf, a lovely crochet rug that still sits on my bed. They organised taxis's, came to court with me,  helped me move my belongings into the new house. They just did so much for me. All these things helped me to feel special and that someone cared."

Charlotte would like other women to know something important: "Us women are strong and resilient! We know when something is not right. If you have to leave, just go. You WILL find freedom."

*Name change to protect identity
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