Julia, Founder Member
Think you know what a victim of domestic abuse (DA) looks like? Think again. Forget the stereotype. She looks like any one of us. Every colour, ethnicity, socio-economic background: DA is evenly spread across them all.
I have been supporting women in the DA arena for 20 years. It’s a passion; I’m addicted.
Lillie* and I met Emma Scott from the Salvation Army five years ago. We’d recognised the need to support DA ‘victims’ (some prefer the word ‘survivors’ but to me that implies that the abuse is over; the consequences and long-term effects are rarely over) in the community, a ‘women to women’ approach, which required a local base to meet. We wanted to get involved at a practical level, knee-deep, sleeves rolled up, so TLC was born.
We realised that ‘sign-posting’ our ladies to the different DA professionals and government agencies would achieve the most efficient outcomes, whilst mentoring them at TLC would provide a safe space for them to meet. We are inundated with work now – which of course is good and bad!
Mentoring requires us to be non-judgmental, good listeners, enthusiastic, encourage self-belief and build self-esteem, approachable, creative and find solutions. When I work with ladies I only focus on the way forward; not on where they’ve been or what happened in the past as that’s too painful for them. I like to work with them, collaboratively, in a way which empowers them to take control of their own outcomes.
One of my favourite quotes from one of our ladies was “TLC turns survivors into warriors”.
What I’m most proud of?
It is our role not only to support women but to keep them from returning to their perpetrator. In four years, not one of our ladies has returned to their perpetrator or started a new abusive relationship.
One of the key tenets of TLC is that we choose to work with these ladies in the long term, not just a fly-in fly-out support. The ladies, if you asked them, would tell you that TLC saved them (from depression, from going back to their ex, from just crashing out of life). TLC is their family, their safe space, their haven.
What does TLC mean to me?
It means wrapping the TLC love around our ladies so that they feel safe, empowered, and can see a positive horizon.
TLC? It’s who I am, it’s what I do. I can’t live without it!