In Australia, domestic and family violence is the main cause for homelessness among women and girls. When a woman leaves an abusive relationship, it often means leaving the family home, and cutting ties to existing accommodation and financial support. This makes the choice to leave incredibly difficult.

At Vinnies, we respect a woman’s right to make her own choices, which means we help women regardless of whether they decide to stay in a violent relationship or not. But if women do choose to leave a violent relationship, we provide them the tools and support they need to escape violence and build new lives. But we also build relationships. We provide long-term support and friendship to our clients, so much so that many come to see us as family.

This was the case for Lea. When Lea came to Vinnies with her five-year-old daughter many years ago, she was experiencing relationship violence. She knew she had to leave but once she did, she didn’t know where to go. Some close friends suggested Vinnies. With compassion, understanding, empathy and support from husband-and-wife team, Neil and Thea, Lea was able to get back on her feet and take control of her own destiny.

After Thea’s passing, Neil continued his work with the Society and today is the Bathurst Central Council president and a NSW Board member.

You can watch Lea’s story below:


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