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There was once a time when the only thing I looked forward to was the future. It seemed all so scary and pointless. I didn’t dare dream, plan or assume with optimism but focused on getting through another day. I felt unsafe, scared and helpless. I didn’t think anyone could protect me and I certainly didn’t think it would stop. If I called other agencies I was usually greeted with empathy and a calm voice but no action, or actions taken were slowly processed. When I called Aviva, I don’t remember what I said but I remember your response was one of action.
You didn’t see a girl scared, you saw a need of safety and you stepped up. I haven’t had to use the personal alarm but having it and the new locks have made me feel safe and worth saving. You helped me realise that I am worth saving. You have helped me see a bigger perspective and that is how I am able to now see all that life has to offer. You have helped me dream, overcome and educated me in areas of psychology and safety I have never heard of. I understand myself and others better.
Thank you for showing me the beauty in the world! I will look forward, knowing my mistakes don’t define me.
 

Abby

Our ‘discussions’ often turned feral. I felt she was totally unreasonable and so then I’d say horrible things to her. This had been going on for a while and she felt I needed to change. We had been at a counsellor’s office and had seen the pamphlet for ReachOut; I just rang the number.
I started working with Gina (ReachOut Worker), and we have been working together for about 10 weeks now. She was easy to talk to, and not judgemental at all. I felt much better - much calmer. The big change has been in my thinking – I can recognise when I’m starting to get amped up. I now choose not to get rattled. I try walking away – that works well.
I realised that getting angry isn’t helping me. Even though we may still disagree, I know my own truth in my own head, so I don’t let the disagreement upset me. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, and I can respect that. The last time we argued I held it all together – I felt quite empowered and calm instead of seething, like before. The hardest thing is being consistent, but I’m doing this for myself – I’m really trying to be different.

Adam

I made the decision to leave an abusive relationship. Me and my two children had been staying with family, and the concept of returning home was a very scary thought. However, I did not have a choice - my children’s father had gone; there was no way I would take their home away from them. So after two weeks, with school due to start, we went home. I wore a brave face, but I could never portray to you how fearful and uncertain every moment was, every noise I heard, every knock. My ex-partner knew my house way better than I did; he knew about my broken window latches, he probably had a key. It was a big job to try to keep this person out.
Within two days of contacting Aviva the coordinator visited and immediately organised for our house to be made safe. She had so many ideas and solutions to problems I just had no experience with. She sent somebody in, they changed my locks, they fixed all my windows, they made my home safe. For the first time, in three weeks, I slept. I slept at my house, with my family, and in my own bed.

Jo

I went to The Loft because I felt lost and alone, so when I walked in without even knowing they could help I really didn't know what to expect. Everyone I met there was so friendly and understanding, though. I never felt that my reasons for accepting their help were unreasonable, and I never felt personally invalidated.
I was invited to join a women's support group run by Aviva. I wasn't certain how well I'd do in a group environment, but the things I learned there and hearing what others had gone through really affected me positively and helped me to feel like I wasn't alone, especially since everyone was from very different situations, from young mothers to older professionals. It's surprising how strong some of these women seemed and yet they were still going through terrible situations, but sharing stories with them was inspiring.
My life has completely changed. The assistance they gave me and the extra support Aviva directly led me to has helped me gain so much confidence and self-esteem that I feel like a different person entirely. I still struggle with things, of course, but so many of the barriers that used to hold me back just aren't there anymore, or I have the tools and resources to get past most of them now. I would absolutely credit Aviva for putting me on the right path to be the much stronger person I am today.

Anon

Just knowing that there's someone who understands, someone who'll listen... knowing that you're not alone, that there's somebody who cares, it makes a huge difference; all the difference. Thanks to Aviva, I knew I wasn't alone, and I found hope again.

Jennifer