Bella's Story

Bella* is only three years old, but her short life has already been marked by family violence. Last year, when Bella’s mother Erin* was eight months pregnant with her baby sister, Erin was assaulted so badly that her hip was broken. 

Berry Street provided an immediate crisis response to Erin as she decided to leave her partner.  We developed a plan to keep her and the children safe, arranging for emergency housing until she could move in with family members. 

Bella showed significant signs of trauma from witnessing the severe, ongoing violence towards her mother. Her confusion and fear were overwhelming. She couldn’t sleep at night and Erin struggled to settle her when she herself was so unsettled. 

Berry Street’s trained counsellors worked with Bella and Erin to understand the effects of the trauma they had experienced, to help them feel safe again and have a better understanding of what Bella will need in the coming months to recover. 

Erin is hoping to return to her studies after the court cases against her former partner are over, as she wants to find work so she can provide for her children on her own. 

Help children like Bella

In the last year we were able to work with over 5,500 women and children affected by family violence. 

Every month Berry Street receives over 1000 family violence referrals from Victoria Police to assist women and children.

Family violence referrals to Berry Street have more than doubled in the past 3 years.

Children exposed to domestic violence are more likely to have behavioural and emotional problems.

Help children like Bella:

*Names have been changed in the interest of privacy. The models and volunteers pictured are not connected to the case study.

Berry Street Victoria Incorporated (ABN 24 719 196 762) is a public benevolent institution with endorsement as a Deductible Gift Recipient issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Berry Street is also a Tax Concession Charity, holding income tax exemption under Subdivision 50-B of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, and is a Registered Charity with Consumer Affairs Victoria (Number 10925.12).