Anona Le Page (Nonnie) is the Welfare and Domestic Violence Worker at Community Northern Beaches (CNB) . Nonnie has occupied this role for 6 years, and works closely with external and internal services to provide help and support for individuals whom have experienced domestic and family violence.
Nonnie’s job varies immensely, no situation is the same, some cases are more traumatic and complex than others, but they are all require urgent support.
“On one extreme I receive phone calls from women feeling they are in an unhappy marriage, but are unsure if their situation is identified as domestic violence to the other extreme - receiving a call from a women at Woolworths borrowing someone’s phone, who needed to be picked up as she had fled the house in her bathrobe.’”
Every client has a different and unique story, and requires an individual support plan to meet their specific needs. Nonnie provides face-to-face assistance, and also refers to external counselling and legal services.
Before working for Community Northern Beaches, Nonnie worked for several years in Cape Cod USA as a Case Manager for an organisation called Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) . This organisation delivered over 20 programs ranging from drug and alcohol rehabilitation, homeless shelters, crisis accommodation and home weatherisation for the tough winters there. Nonnie has been committed to working with people who need support for many years and has not lost compassion or motivation, appreciating the human connection that is developed with clients.
The statistics around domestic and family violence in Australia are alarming. Violence can take many forms such as sexual, emotional, financial, physical and psychological abuse. “The effects that psychological abuse can have on the victim can be just as damaging and traumatising for survivors as physical violence can be, sometimes more so.” says Nonnie.
With only one domestic and family violence worker at Community Northern Beaches, Nonnie is constantly busy. She admits it’s sometimes hard to shut off from her work, as she goes home she is often left wondering about the women who she has seen and helped that week. Nonnie states that one of the best parts of her job is when someone is able to escape a crisis situation and contact her to let her know they’re ok.
“I received a text last Sunday around 6am from a client who told me she’d escaped to a safe place with her children. She was texting to tell me that she had made it and was safe and unpacking. It gave me goose bumps, it honestly made my day.”
Looking forward to the future Nonnie says the centre needs better free legal representation for survivors of domestic and family violence. Many domestic and family violence survivors don’t qualify for free legal services as their name can be legally tied to financial documents, even though they have no access to that money or assets. “Even just five hours of free legal services to these women would help them navigate what is a very overwhelming process.”
Community Northern Beaches also offers a support program called ‘Building Blocks’ which is designed for women in the process of, or who have recently left, situations of domestic and family violence. The workshop is run 4 times per year and runs for approximately 6 weeks, free of charge. For more information on this workshop, or to access any of our services please call 9977 1066.
If this article or any issues surrounding domestic and family violence has resonated with you, or you think that the information could be beneficial to someone you know, please share.
Our door is open and support is always available from Monday- Friday, 10am-3pm at 12 Wentworth St Manly.
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