Valentina – starting afresh after a lengthy and abusive marriage  

When someone is affected by domestic violence, it can be difficult to access all the supports needed to start afresh, especially when they have been in a long marriage, are from a non-English speaking background and are socially isolated. Specialist supports are required to pull together all the help needed. 

Valentina experienced extensive physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband of thirty years. One night, when he would not stop shouting at her, she threw an object across the room at him.  The police attended the home and applied for a protection order on the husband’s behalf. Following this, Valentina attended court where she was connected to Caxton’s Domestic Violence Duty Lawyer service.  

Caxton’s lawyer heard Valentina’s story and recognised that she was a victim of domestic violence including social isolation and economic abuse. They connected Valentina to the Seniors Legal and Support Service, a specialist service providing both social work supports and legal representation to older people to address the abuse they are experiencing.  

Through Caxton, Valentina was linked to housing services, Centrelink, financial management skills training, assisted with a safety plan and was provided with short-term counselling to support her decision to end her relationship.   

Valentina still struggles to cope with the trauma associated with long-term abuse and her marriage breakdown.  She is connected to ongoing counselling and other social supports which have enabled her to start afresh.