Amber once thought she was in a happy relationship. She and her partner moved back to Melbourne from interstate to be close to family after the birth of their daughter, Mia. But her partner’s behaviour changed drastically. He became violent towards her. He was controlling and prevented her from socialising with others. He destroyed her confidence and threatened to take their daughter away.

Her family were pleading with her to leave, and with just the clothes on their backs, Amber and Mia fled to a crisis service. In the next months they lived in motels and on any given day they didn’t know where they would be. They also spent time in a refuge, and while Amber is grateful, living in group settings without privacy was very stressful. Her daughter became increasingly anxious and some of her developmental milestones were delayed. 

Amber remembers sobbing when she was offered her WPI home. “I thought this can’t be real. There is no way this is ours. Now that we are safe the anxiety has lifted. Mia is happy and has started school and made friends. After being so withdrawn, I can’t believe the change in her. We had nothing, but with some help I’ve been able to make it cosy. He stopped me from doing so many things, but now we are free.“

Having seen the difference support services and community housing make, Amber is pursuing studies in Community Services. “I’ve seen how life changing it is, that’s why I want to be part of it.”