“This group has been the reset I need every month – so relaxing. Everyone is welcoming and it makes me feel safe and protected”.
Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre’s (PBNC) Child and Family Support Service has over 20 years’ experience in delivering facilitated programs and groups including peer support groups for women impacted by chronic health conditions and /or domestic abuse and/or caring for children or family members with additional needs.
Following the resounding success of their 2020 Women’s Healing Beyond Trauma project (WHBT) they were keen to initiate another one, offering facilitated group sessions of nurturing and healing activities to support women in our communities impacted by violence-related trauma.
Community service organisations recorded an increase in Domestic abuse and violent assaults during pandemic conditions, with families confined in their homes. According to Blue Knot Foundation (BKF), a national centre of excellence for complex trauma, self-care improves the capacity to value self. Learning to care for yourself means seeing yourself as a person who deserves to feel comfortable, safe and worthwhile.
Barriers for traumatised women’s health and wellbeing are also associated with hyper-vigilance and compromised personal safety and an erosion of self-confidence. Women often feel guilt, shame and self-blame – eroding their sense of self, health, wellbeing and connectedness. The project’s activities help women practice self-care to recover and build resilience, restore self-worth and establish stronger, safer connections.
Funding received from a Northern Rivers Community Foundation grant enabled 10 facilitated all-day group sessions to be delivered to around 100 women who were going through trauma as a result of domestic or family violence. The sessions ran monthly from February to November in 2022.
The session aligned with both school and child care times so women could attend and connect with other women (some also mothers and grandmothers) in a safe and supportive environment. There was a focus on self-care and self-development. This in turn supported their parenting/carer capacity, enabled young mothers and older carers to connect with each other and nurture themselves and develop friendships. The self-care supported their mental health and sharing ideas positively impacted the women’s resilience and strength.
“I absolutely love coming to this group. I love being able to connect with myself and other group members. It has made an amazing impact on my healing journey”