Making Aotearoa New Zealand
the best place to raise children
in flourishing families
At just 16 Mia* found herself pregnant, cut off from her friends and living with a man who told her he loved her one minute and screamed at her the next. The same man would hit her, and then beg for forgiveness.
For many years Mia struggled with thoughts of suicide, only carrying on for her son Davin*. But when Davin was hurt trying to protect her, she knew she had to get out. She found a flat for herself and her son, but the emotional abuse from her ex-partner and his family continued. She felt lost, alone and confused.
A ray of light came when Davin, now 8, was referred to Family Works because of concerns about his behaviour at school. Mia supported her son to take part in Family Works’ ‘Free To Be Me’ group for children who have witnessed family violence.
While Mia initially declined any help for herself, after seeing the difference in her son she decided to attend the ‘Free To Be Me’ group for women.
With the support of Family Works and the group, Mia took out a Protection Order which she used to help protect herself and her son from her ex-partner’s emotional abuse, violence and pressure to reconcile. She learnt about the power that had controlled her for most of her life and she learnt strategies for keeping her son and herself safe. Mia’s self esteem grew, and for the fist time in her life Mia knew she wasn’t alone.
Today, Mia feels ‘free to be me’. She is working with a counsellor and social worker to make positive changes in her life. Today, Mia feels in control of her life. Today, Mia sees a future that includes new friends, study and a better life for her and Davin.
Family abuse can take many forms and affects everyone in different ways. Thanks to the support of the community Family Works is able to provide a range of group programmes, including ‘Free To Be Me’, and tailored individual support for children, teenagers and adults who have experienced family violence.