Single mum Rachel Kayrooz knows painfully well what happens when women are isolated by abusive partners and cut off from access to information, referrals and support. She still has the scars to prove it and her unborn baby's life was threatened.
That's why she has thrown her support behind a new App called Re-focus that puts powerful information at the fingertips of women who have, or are thinking of, separating from their partners.
Often the only thing an isolated and abused woman has at separation is her mobile phone. That phone with the Re-focus App can now be an instrument to guide women and their kids to a safer, better life.
"I wish I'd had access to the information that Re-focus provides when I was going through domestic violence. It would have made a huge difference," Rachel said.
"Knowledge is power - and I had none. If we can get the message out about Re-focus we just might save someone's life. By providing women with correct and current information for support and legal services, we are helping to empower them and understand their rights."
Re-focus puts legal advice, referrals on domestic violence support, accommodation, financial help and coping tips at the fingertips of any woman with a smart phone.
Re-focus has been developed by the highly-trained and experienced legal team of women from the Women's Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) for women who have, or are thinking of separating. Follow this link for details and how to download Re-focus.
It gives well-considered advice as well as 'live link' referrals that can be activated with a tap on the screen.
Separation is proven to be the most dangerous time for women and their kids if they're in a relationship with a controlling, abusive partner. And let's remember the shocking statistic - one third of women over 15 will experience some form of abuse in their life.
"Abusers exert control over every aspect of your life, including access to any pathways for escape -information, professional help, friends, relatives and money," Rachel said.
"For the women who can't download it for fear of detection, I urge anyone who suspects a woman they know is at risk, to download it onto their own smartphone and show it to that woman in a safe environment, away from a perpetrator's prying eyes and ears."
Re-focus takes the user through a quick and simple 'yes, no, maybe' quiz that the App then uses to gather all the relevant information needed for her specific situation.
It includes information on domestic violence, children, property, financial support, reaching an agreement and safe accommodation.
Domestic violence is broader than physical abuse and can include sexual, emotional, financial, verbal, spiritual or cultural abuse and stalking against you or your children. Re-focus asks about this to help women understand their situation.
Re-focus also includes special coping tips to help build the resilience of women going through separation or post-separation difficulties.
The specially-designed tips by mindfulness experts Mind Gardener focus on simple steps to help overcome five common feelings: out of control; anxious; frustrated; regret and remorse; and feeling stuck.
The App advises women to ensure their phone is password protected or to think before downloading it if they have any concerns their phone may not be secure from a threatening partner.
WLS is grateful for the support of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services that funded Re-focus as part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.
The support of Senator Michaelia Cash, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Women, at the launch was an important statement that domestic violence is a national problem that needs national solutions.
Senator Cash spoke of the shocking statistics of abuse against women - such as one woman is murdered each week by their partner or ex-partner - and the plans the government has to turn them around.
We hope news of Re-focus - which is just one small step - spreads far and wide so that at risk women can get the information, contacts and coping tips they need to move to a better, safer place in their lives.
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