Two Canberra women are responding to a gap in services for women who have experienced domestic and family violence or sexual violence.
Keron Beath and Kristine Hewett have created Adamas Nexus, a ‘post crisis’ support group for women in the days, months and years after experiencing violence. Through their business, Philanthropize, they decided to pursue a cause that was important to them – domestic and sexual violence.
“We’ve both been touched by it before,” Kristine says.
“We decided to think about what it was we wanted to do … we did it, and it started, and unfortunately they [participants] are coming.”
“Once they’re out of crisis, there’s not a lot of ongoing support.”
Adamas, meaning ‘diamond, indestructible, invincible, unconquerable’ and nexus, meaning ‘binding together’ or ‘connection linking two or more things’, forms the basis of the aim to create a self-sufficient support group.
The group meets once a month, with self-facilitated meetings that allow each participant to share their experiences and engage with other participants, often with the use of a ‘focus word’ to generate discussion.
“It’s not a confronting environment. Yes, it’s really hard to hear some people’s stories … but hopefully that’s a step forward for them,” Kristine says.
“There’s nothing really like it, there’s no niche support group out there,” Keron adds.
Keron and Kristine stress that the support group is not a crisis service, but for those who want structured support on an ongoing basis after they are no longer in an abusive situation. Keron and Kristine have developed a questionnaire to help assess whether participants are ready to attend, and the program has been checked by a psychologist.
“A lot of it is the length of time since they’ve left the situation … we don’t want to turn anyone away,” Kristine says.
Keron and Kristine say the bulk of funding is necessarily directed towards crisis services, which leaves little for support in the post-crisis space. They are self-funding the groups, with donated materials and venue space from a range of Canberra businesses.
“It’s always nice to know there are people out there willing to help in that way.”
Meetings are held on the first Monday of every month in a central location. For more information, visit adamasnexus.com
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.