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Meet the team behind Canberra’s inspiring Domestic Violence Crisis Service

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Have you ever wondered who works at the Domestic Violence Crisis Service?

What inspired them to apply for a position? Why they like it there and how they support each other?

We spoke to six of the team to find out just that—Bree, Kayla, Inez, Lisa, Claire and administration officer Louise.

The team at the Domestic Violence Crisis Service is made up of 48 employees, working part-time, full time, casually and on a shift-work basis. They range in age, gender and cultural identity.

Why did you apply for a job at DVCS?

Bree: I’ve worked in the community sector for over four years, which includes time working collaboratively with DVCS.  DVCS has such a strong reputation within the ACT community and I have always respected the work the team does.

I’m a feminist and DVCS is a feminist organisation. DVCS works from a feminist framework, valuing the lives and experiences of the woman who access our service. DVCS aligns with my ethics around advocating for the rights and needs of the client above anything else.

Lisa: Working for DVCS has always been a long-term ambition of mine, perhaps for 20 years or so? I value the sense of meaning and purpose.

Kayla: I had experience working in sexual assault crisis response and I wanted to continue working in a feminist organisation. I care deeply about women having access to these services. My mother and grandmother didn’t have that access, they endured years and years of abuse in silence. And when they did have interactions with services and law enforcement (in Canada), the responses were appalling.

It really makes me appreciate how much work has been done by the women before me in this sector. Abuse thrives in secrecy and behind the closed doors of homes, I want to open those doors up.

Claire.

Why do you like working at DVCS, in relation to client work?

Claire: I like that no day is the same, everything is different. Every client is different and requires support in different ways. I find working with men who need support to stop their use of violence both complex and interesting. I am glad to be able to make a difference from this angle.

Lisa: Each person I speak to over the telephone or in-person inspires me. It takes enormous courage to pick up the phone and call us, then share with a stranger intimate details of their lives. I respect, and hold carefully, the trust our clients put in us. And this all happens at a very difficult moment in their lives. I am moved when I can hear the change in a client from quiet uncertainty to a more confident purpose because of the options we have discussed.

Kayla: Many of our clients are living in toxic, violent family environments, and often in total silence. People are incredibly good at hiding what is happening behind closed doors. I feel privileged to be able to hear them, to be a safe person to share their experiences with and help them feel less alone and trapped.

The work is incredibly fast-paced and challenging, I feel like I learn new things all the time. Not just from our clients, but also my wonderful colleagues.

Louise and Lisa during a break.

Why do you like working at DVCS, in relation to the team?

Bree: Our workload is challenging and inspiring, interesting and heartbreaking all the same time, but despite this, or maybe because of this, our team is one of the closest and most supportive teams I’ve ever been a part of.

Kayla: Everyone at DVCS has a personal reason for working here. We all care deeply about the work we do. We all have different backgrounds, values and approaches, but we remain focused on a common goal.

I had a number of years of community service work experience before coming to DVCS. One thing that set DVCS apart was I received a fixed roster so I would always know when I am working. I can even see when I am working this time next year!

I never had that stability before and feel this is so important for women in the workforce who also manage so much caring responsibilities in the home. This demonstrates to me that DVCS is putting feminist values into practical action.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Service is an inclusive service supporting children, young people and adults impacted by domestic, family and intimate partner violence. This includes people who use violence.

If you, or someone you know, is impacted by physical or non-physical violence within your family relationships, please reach out to DVCS on 62 800 900 (24/7).

DVCS has supported the ACT community for over 32 years and is a highly regarded non-government, community organisation.

To find out more about the different services DVCS provides, or how to get involved with supporting their work, please view their website at dvcs.org.au.

HerCanberra is a proud supporter of DVCS ACT

Feature image: Bree and Kayla. 

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