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For many women, leaving an abusive situation is one of the hardest things they will ever do, But as they look to a new future one question remains: what happens next?
Filling a gap in post-crisis domestic violence services, Canberra charity Adamas Nexus is offering free life-long support for women and those who identify as women who have been the recipients of violence, abuse or intimidation.
Founded three years ago by Kristine Hewett and Keron Beath, Adamas Nexus is aiming to help the women who have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse by using techniques often found in 12 Step programs, providing connection and support through conversation.
“We started it because we both have lived childhood experiences and we wondered how or why some people really struggle after they have had trauma, and other people don’t” says Kristine.
“We worked out that it was about support from people who have lived experiences of the same issue.”
Designed to be a repeatable model that can also reach rural and regional communities via online meetings, the Adamas Nexus program has been reviewed by several members of the Australian Psychological Society but it does not offer counseling. It instead acts as a safe place for women to share and feel supported, both online and in person.
While there are several excellent local resources targeted towards community education around and the prevention of domestic violence and sexual abuse, Kristine and Keron say there is no long-term post-crisis support services for survivors.
“There’s a lot of stuff at the front end for prevention and education and then you’ve got [Domestic Violence Crisis Support ACT]…but once people are actually out of crisis, there’s not that long term post-crisis support,” explains Kristine.
Through shared stories and tools, including direction to services that may provide additional help, Kristine and Keron believe that the benefit of Adamas Nexus is no matter the clients’ current situation or how long ago the trauma occurred, they can help women unearth belief and confidence in themselves and feel heard.
“Humans inherently want to be heard, validated and supported and when you’ve got someone going ‘Oh that’s my life, you’re talking about me,’ you don’t feel like you’re alone,” says Keron.
“That’s a really basic human requirement.”
With hopes to extend their services to the LGBTQIA+ and other communities in the future, including a support group for men, the next step for Adamas Nexus is to resume face-to-face meetings once lockdown restrictions lift.
Recently receiving a grant from Hands Across Canberra to help reach more Canberra women in need, they are also seeking corporate sponsorship.
“Our aim is to be able to reach as many women as we can,” says Keron. “We’re women centric at the moment, only because that’s where the statistics are skewed.”
As Adamas Nexus notes a slight increase in the demand for its services during lockdown, Kristine and Keron hope to add to the domestic violence and sexual abuse services currently available for Canberrans and raise awareness on the importance of post-crisis support.
“It’s trauma, and there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done about people being trauma educated and informed. It doesn’t just go away, it’s always there, it’s how you manage it,” says Kristine.
“Having people out of the situation is awesome, but not if they’re going to fall apart and not be able to support themselves or their family in a really positive, genuine way. And that’s what we want to do.”
For more information visit adamasnexus.com
If you or someone you know has been affected by issues in the article, contact the Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT on 62 800 900 or visit their website.
Alternatively, you can call White Ribbon on 1800RESPECT to access their a 24-hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line.