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Amanda's story

25 November 2021

Not so long ago, Amanda’s* yearning for a safe, peaceful and happy life for her children seemed like an impossible dream.

For years Amanda had endured her partner Mike’s violent temper and witnessed him taunt her three children. Their six-year-old son was Mike’s main target for verbal attacks, and the little boy eventually developed behavioural issues. Mike couldn’t hold down a job and at times the family barely had enough food to eat.

Finally, Amanda summoned up the courage to leave, moving into another house with her children. But she couldn’t get away from Mike—he would turn up unannounced and threaten her.

When one of Amanda’s relatives told her that Presbyterian Support offer a Family Works Parenting Through Separation course, she realised there were people who would understand her situation and support her. She also worked with, and learnt to trust, a Family Works counsellor. “It made a big difference knowing that help is out there if you ask for it,” said Amanda.

Having the Family Works counsellor to confide in increased Amanda’s determination to do what was best for her family. All three children received help to process what they’d been through. “Family Works helped me a lot,” Amanda says.

Encouraged, Amanda also participated in another Presbyterian Support course. This time it was the Family Works Incredible Years parenting course. The 14-week course taught her positive parenting skills, which she immediately put into practice. It helped her to create a supportive, wholesome environment for the children, so they could begin to put their violent past behind them.

Eventually, the Family Court issued a protection order for Amanda and her family. They have a safety plan in place, and Mike has supervised contact with his children for a few hours each week.

Amanda and her children can now enjoy the safety and peace that once seemed so unattainable. “We’re a lot calmer and more relaxed,” she said. “The house feels like a home.”

White Ribbon logo

As we mark White Ribbon Day, it is a timely reminder that people like Amanda and her tamariki are vulnerable to domestic violence. For that reason, Presbyterian Support has achieved White Ribbon Accreditation and Chief Executive Officer Barry Helem is proud to lead an organisation that will play its part in dealing with the impact of domestic violence.

“Aotearoa has the unenviable record for the highest level of domestic violence per capita in the developed world,” says Barry.

“People like Amanda and her tamariki need to be safe and when they work with our team, they are supported to help them find their way out of harmful situations. Being able to shine a light on violence prevention is very important.”

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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