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Give a gift from the heart and help women fleeing domestic violence

Gabrielle escaped a violent partner and changed her life

25 May 2020

Staying home during the coronavirus is a living hell for a woman experiencing domestic violence - enduring chronic abuse from a violent partner with no place to turn.

Domestic violence claims the lives of one Australian woman a week by her current or former partner. Equally alarming, the burgeoning social problem is the leading cause of homelessness for women and their children.

These incredibly resilient women, occasionally with their children, flee for their lives and seek help at Sacred Heart Mission’s Women’s House, where they can access housing assistance and other vital support.

Women like Gabrielle - who fled home at 13 to escape an abusive father - and later turned to drugs and sex work for daily survival. As the years progressed, she experienced abuse again by a violent partner and fled in fear for her life.

“I had a big wakeup call when he hit me… That was really the thing that pushed me onto the street,” Gabrielle says.

The Women's House supported Gabrielle to flee a violent partner

“Knowing what I know now, I would not stay with a violent person. But back then, when I was less confident and didn’t know where to go, I would have felt powerless. If this virus was happening then, I don’t know what I would have done, how I would have ended up. I would have been terrified.”

Gabrielle is grateful to have her life back on track thanks to the support of our Women’s House, Homefront and the J2SI program, which helped her finally find a place of her own.

“The Women’s House workers were amazing. They were extremely supportive, caring and well informed,” Gabrielle says

“It was perfect for me, coming from living on the street to just have a cuppa, a chat and have someone listen to you.”

With a Masters of Literature, Gabrielle is passionate about her work reading and editing books and hopes to return to study her PhD, and is considering writing a book about this chapter in her life.

Help us support women experiencing domestic violence

At SHM, we want to help other women just like Gabrielle find a way out and live a life free of violence.

Every donation you make today will be doubled. That means each dollar you give is worth two, and if we raise up to $190,000 in this appeal, it will turn into $380,000 for the Women’s House.

Simply make an online donation or call 1800 443 278.

Donate now

Thanks to the following generous matching donors: Besen Family Foundation, Give 52, Gourlay Charitable Trust, Jenkins Foundation, Lindsay and Paula Fox, Kamener Foundation, Krystyna Campbell-Pretty, O’Donohue Family, OFCT and Scanlon Foundation. 

Sacred Heart Mission acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal owners of country throughout Victoria and pays respects to them, their culture and their elders past, present and emerging.


Sacred Heart Mission believes that the diversity of abilities, genders, sexualities, relationship identities, bodies and cultures in our community enriches us all and should be celebrated. Everyone is welcome at our table.