News & Events

Reaching more families over past year

August 6, 2021

Emerge’s outreach program reached 50 new families including 74 children over the past year, highlighting the growing demand for its services and support.

In all, case workers and the arts therapy team provided a range of help and counselling to 155 clients.

According to Jess, Emerge’s Manager of Integrated Family Services, the work was intense last year because of lockdown stress and having to switch from face to face work to connecting virtually.

Emerge has also seen more children, from infants to teenagers, over the past year, each requiring personalised support, their own safety plan and arts therapy sessions.

“We’ve seen children come in who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, but over time and with personal attention, they begin to adjust,” Jess said.

This increase in children has resulted in Emerge putting on an extra children’s case manager as well as employing a psychologist within the service.

“It really has been an all hands-on deck year, juggling telehealth and telephone sessions with face to face groups when we have been able to,” Jess said.

The support has included safety planning, dedicated case management, financial counselling and therapeutic support to women and children in crisis accommodation and in the community.

According to the data, Emerge’s art therapists engaged with 45 children and held 119 group and individual sessions and assessments. The art therapists were also involved in programs including the Safe Nest group, Make Your Mark, Little Sparkz and Open Studio.

Case managers have also supported 22 women with individual counselling, 23 women with parenting support, and 37 women through the women’s group.

The increase in Emerge’s figures correlates with other reports over the past year.

Equity Economics found that when comparing March 2020 and March this year, there was a 5.9 per cent increase in the number of women seeking specialist homelessness services – such as Emerge – following an experience of family violence, compared to a 0.4 per cent decrease across all other client groups. Even prior to COVID-19 and this spike in demand, family violence was the biggest cause of homelessness for women and children.

“For women and their children escaping violence in the home, facing homelessness is a daunting but very real prospect.”

“If you then add in the stress and trauma of family violence and COVID-19, it is no wonder that our services have been stretched,” Jess said.

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