A personal drive to create positive change in the world led Carla Davis to start working with the then named “Hastings Women and Children’s Refuge” in a Residential Support role almost 10 years ago.
After living in numerous rural and regional communities across NSW, Victoria and South Australia, Carla and her family moved to Port Macquarie in 2003, and she started working in domestic and family violence support in 2009.
The organisation started life as a temporary refuge in 1980 and has expanded over four decades to offer a range of crisis accommodation and outreach support services, this month revealing a new name, Liberty Domestic & Family Violence Specialist Services.
Carla now manages three program areas based at Liberty Cottage – Assessment and Intake, Outreach Support for women in the community, and Community Partnerships Against Domestic & Family Violence.
Carla also finds the hands-on elements of the role very rewarding, whether it’s helping a woman put a safety plan in place or leading a group workshop. She co-facilitates Dusk – a domestic violence support group for women; Engage2Change – men’s behaviour change program; and Kids Club – a support group for 8 to 12 year olds.
Carla works with a very special team of empathetic, dedicated people at Liberty, who share the vision of a safe community where women and children are empowered to achieve their potential.
The team demonstrate respect for those they support, each other and themselves. “Self-care is extremely important, so that we can come to work each day with the energy and compassion we need to help empower people to make a difference in their lives,” Carla said.
The team combine their strong personal values with educational qualifications and ongoing training to provide the best outcomes possible for the women and children they support. Carla completed a Diploma of Community Services, then went on to obtain a Bachelor of Social Science Welfare with Charles Sturt University.
“I am now four years into completing the Bachelor of Social Science Psychology, and will soon transfer to the Bachelor of Psychology, again with CSU.”
Carla finds it incredibly fulfilling to work with people as they grow and achieve their goals.
“It is an honour to walk part of the journey with the women, children and men that we are able to support through our various programs. We help people tap into their own strength and resilience and make choices for their own lives. When we see changes taking place, it is very fulfilling.”
The personal stories can be emotionally challenging, and seeing the impacts of trauma on children is always difficult.
For Carla, spending time with her two grandchildren, with another on the way, provides a welcome reprieve and the inspiration to continue creating positive change in our community.
After 62 columns over five years, that’s a wrap! Thank you, Carla, for being such an inspirational conclusion to my Day in the Life column. It is a privilege to work alongside you and the team at Liberty. Thank you to FOCUS for the opportunity and to all the amazing people who have shared their incredible stories over the years.
6am: My alarm wakes me up.
8am: Arrive at work and catch up on
emails from the team, respond to requests for financial assistance and support for clients, and return phone messages.
9am: Informal team meeting to cover off what is planned for the day ahead.
10am – 12pm: Facilitate our women’s domestic violence support group, Dusk, with 10 participants.
2pm: One-on-one meeting with a team member to discuss case management options and solutions, check in on their self-care and oversee their workload.
5pm – 8pm: Co-facilitate the men’s behaviour change program, Engage2Change, with seven participants.
9am: After dinner it’s time to study and work on my uni assignments.
11pm: Aim for bed before 11pm, so I have energy for another day.