Chloe Jeffrey was living in a caravan in the bush with her partner and three young children when her partner was arrested.
It gave Ms Jeffrey the break she needed and ended a cycle of family violence that might have otherwise been a life sentence for the young mother.
The family had “struggled to survive” from week to week, and sometimes lived out of their car, Ms Jeffrey said.
“The only way I was able to get out of my family violence relationship was that he went to prison,” Ms Jeffrey said.
“I was tangled up in this whole ‘it’ll never happen again’ situation.
“I could not break it for the life of me, no matter how much I tried to run away, no matter how much I tried, rang the police – my phone was broken, he’d grab it and threaten me with it.”
The family were homeless for four weeks before they were offered accommodation by SalvoConnect Western.
During those weeks living in friend’s lounge rooms, Ms Jeffrey had lived in fear of being turned out on the streets with her children, and pf her violent ex-partner returning.
“They had seen so much, and to be able to come into this accommodation with SalvoConnect, they felt safe and they knew nothing was going to happen but it was very scary at the time.
“You think you’re going to be living on the street with your children and that’s what kept going through my mind, it was terrible.”
More than 70 per cent of children in SalvoConnect Western Ballarat’s childcare centre have experienced domestic violence.
In the past year the service supported 141 women and 242 children through its homelessness programs.
Almost 60 per cent of women said they had experienced family violence, as had 59 per cent of children in service’s homelessness programs.
The Salvation Army’s Walking Home fundraiser on this Saturday, November 5 will raise funds for SalvoConnect Western’s childcare centre and children’s services, including specialist counselling for children who have experienced homelessness, trauma and domestic violence.
Walking Home has five distances from 36-kilometres (Linton to Ballarat) to 3-kilometres (Lucas to the CBD).
For more information or to register visit salvationarmy.org.au/walkinghome or call SalvoConnect Western on 5329 1100. Entry is $20 to $50 depending on the distance.