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The Mother Infant (MI) Village is a safe haven for mothers and children who have experienced family violence. Offering both a day program and a residential village, victim survivors have access to a wide range of supports to help them heal and rebuild their lives free from violence.

Katrina* was 20 years old and 35 weeks pregnant when she moved into the MI Village. She was homeless due to family violence and had been living in crisis accommodation at a motel.

New mother and child find a safe home at last

Sadly, Katrina’s childhood had been marred by significant family violence, and she had struggled with alcohol and drug use.

Having been through the foster care system herself, Katrina was determined to raise her child in a safe and nurturing environment that they could call home.

Like all mothers, Katrina wants to give her child “the best possible chance at life.”

Fortunately, Katrina was referred to the MI Village and moved into one of the four units at the residential village in Ballarat, Western Victoria.

I want to bring my baby to a place that we can call home; where we can grow together.

Katrina

Katrina turns her life around at the Mother Infant Village

Since moving into the MI Village, Katrina has given birth to a beautiful baby.

The young family quickly settled into their new home, and Katrina focused on improving her parenting and communication skills, building her child development awareness and learning how to budget and cook.

Katrina has regularly attended Supported Playgroup (led by a qualified facilitator), a weekly mother and infant therapeutic program, participated in family violence counselling and joined a community cooking group.

She has also started learning to drive (through the L2P program) and attended additional classes held at the MI Village, such as health and first aid (infant and adult) workshops. To top it all off, Katrina has started studying to secure a future career for herself.

The Mother Infant Village has turned my life around. Without the opportunities that have been offered to me, I saw a very different future for myself and my child.

Katrina

A role model for our residential village community

Katrina is a remarkable young woman, who has made a wonderful contribution to the MI Village community. She has become a role model for the other mums, including those in the day program.

Like all the residents at the MI Village, Katrina welcomed the support that came from being around other mums with similar lived experiences. In return, she was always available and willing to support others in the program in whatever ways she could, such as by babysitting the other children or cooking a meal for a new family.

With the support of the MI Village, Katrina has been able to grow and develop a strong and nurturing relationship with her young child in a safe environment free from violence.

Ballarat residents step in to support growing family

The one-bedroom units at the MI Village are ideal for a mother and child, but not for a growing family. As Katrina is pregnant with her second child, there was some uncertainty as to where she could live to provide space for her new baby and growing child.

The demand for housing in regional Victoria – and most of Australia – is high. Even for those who need priority access to housing, such as young people like Katrina who are experiencing homelessness, the wait time can often be years. If Katrina were to wait that long for housing, her unborn child would likely take their first steps before the family moved into their own home.

Thankfully, generous locals David and Kim Morrison, stepped in to offer Katrina a three-bedroom apartment for an initial 12-month period. The apartment is very close to the MI Village and so Katrina will continue to visit to engage with the therapeutic supports to address the impact of family violence, as well as the strong community she’s become an integral part of.

Katrina was overwhelmed by the generous offer and can’t wait to move into her new home.

About Mother Infant Village

MI Village is a holistic, trauma-informed program located in Ballarat, Western Victoria. It aims to intervene early and provide a safe and nurturing environment to support young mothers and infants to recover from the impact of family violence.

*Name has been changed in the interest of privacy. The model pictured is not connected to the case study.