Mary's House: Supporting women and children escaping domestic violence

By Mary's House

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Her story

Anne* and her child suffer from domestic violence.

Yesterday, Anne made a decision to leave an abusive relationship, a difficult decision but one she had to make as a mother to keep her child safe.

Her decision was made even more difficult by the fact that she had no where to go.

One in 2 domestic violence victims are turned away from refuges because of a lack of beds. Last night this happened to Anne - she and her child slept rough on a train rather than risk the fear and escalating violence of returning to their home. Anne has been a victim of domestic violence for five years and also suffers depression and anxiety as a result.

Anne’s story is common amongst domestic violence sufferers. Please spare a thought for Anne and other mothers who spend each day fearing for their lives and the safety of their children.(*Not her true name)

Our story - it takes a village to protect our women and children

We are a group of women and men who are establishing a refuge on Sydney's lower North Shore to provide crisis accommodation for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. The refuge, called Mary’s House, is our local community solution to a national problem. Our aim is to help women like Anne, and their children, escape from domestic violence and rebuild their lives.

We started the project in 2015 and have been working hard to open the doors of Mary’s House before the end of this year.

We are passionate about helping victims of domestic violence. We believe a whole of community response is vital to the success of the project. We see this project as an opportunity for other men and women to stand with us to make a personal contribution to eradicating the blight of domestic violence in our society.

How much have we accomplished to date

A lot! We have acquired the use of a property at a subsidised rental. We have obtained Council approval to make alterations at the property to enable us to offer accommodation to up to 19 women and children. We have already raised enough funds to open the doors of Mary’s House once alterations have been completed later this year.

What others are saying

Former Channel Seven newsreader, Chris Bath fronts the campaign. Read more in Mumbrella

Domestic Violence survivor, Lisa McAdams commented in a recent newspaper story on Mary's House.

"It really is a local solution to a national problem," she said. "It's also a tangible solution. These 19 beds could be the difference between life and death for these women."

Louise McCoach, a consultant with law firm Gilbert + Tobin, is working hard along with other business and community representatives to build the ‘village’ that can help support Mary's House.

"When other people hear about such a campaign, they will want to get involved"

You can be part of our Village

Our aim is to raise even more funds so that once we open the doors of Mary's House, we can keep them open. This is your opportunity to step up and be part of a community solution which answers the call for help from domestic violence victims. We need your donations and pledges to support Mary's House.

Please help raise awareness by sharing this video and campaign with others. We would love you to spread the message across Sydney and the rest of our great state as part of a broader NSW response to the domestic violence crisis in Australia.

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Team Members

Mary's House

Damian Reichel

Elizabeth Mackinlay

Emma Rossi

Fiona Pollock

Humphrey Nolan

Janice Gibson

Jillian Christie

Karen Balstrup

Lori Brunton

Louise McCoach

Michael Gill

Naomi Gibson

Richard Harpham

Rob Caslick

Roger Willilams

Tricia Ho