After a lifetime of family violence, Presbyterian Support helped Lana and her three children to find appropriate accommodation and break out of the violent cycle, changing their lives for the better.

Lana’s* story is a familiar one for Family Works’ frontline staff.

In September last year, Lana was sleeping with her three children aged 12, eight and six, on a mattress on the floor of a friend’s house in Ashburton. Her former partner had recently been jailed, which provided Lana and her children with relief from the family violence they had experienced at his hands.

Determined to make a new start and to break the cycle of family violence she had lived with since her own childhood, Lana had the will but not the contacts or the skills to make positive change in her life.

Lana had accessed help through the Presbyterian Support Service Centre in Ashburton several years earlier. She approached our Social Workers in Schools service and met social worker, Lyn Campbell. Lyn immediately set about finding temporary accommodation for the family. When it became apparent that Lana was struggling to manage her rental obligations, the Ashburton team met with Lana and supported her negotiations with WINZ to direct-pay the landlord.

With the worry of accommodation removed, Family Works helped Lana to focus on food, budgeting and other necessities. “It was important for Lana, as with many of our clients who have experienced family violence, to feel emotionally safe and to feel empowered to make their own decisions regarding their needs and wants in an atmosphere of respectful  support,” said Family Works Social Worker Lyn Campbell.

For Lana, the change in her life has been liberating. “I was feeling lost but now I feel secure. I have a home and happy kids – who love their new school.” she says.

*names have been changed to protect client privacy