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Red Shield Appeal gave Ruth a way back

Ruth chatting with a Salvo officer over coffee

“Every day I say a prayer of thanks for the love and kindness of The Salvation Army. I’ve been clean for five years. I have my kids back. I have an amazing relationship with my parents. And I have a job. But it wasn’t always that way.” – Ruth

Ruth's Story

I’ve been the victim of domestic violence in three different relationships. I had bruises, which faded. But I was left with deep emotional scars that could not be erased. I became addicted to drugs. I’ve been homeless. I gave up on my education and lost my housing. I’ve broken the law and been to prison. But my greatest loss was when my life had spiraled so far out of control that I could no longer be responsible for my children.

My life was completely out of control. Eventually a police officer referred me to a Salvation Army family violence service, and I was offered accommodation for me and my kids.

From the moment I went into the care of the Salvos I felt a kindness and warmth that was so unexpected and is something I will never forget. I remember thinking, ‘if there is a heaven, this must be what it’s like’.

We were given our own unit, fully furnished with a starter park of breakfast, coffee, Milo, and dinner for the week.

This was my new beginning. Time to show my kids that I was going to keep the promises I had made them to turn my life around.

The kids loved their new home. I enrolled them both in local schools with the help of my caseworkers. Everything seemed to be heading in the right direction and I thought nothing else could harm us, but one night as we settled into our unit, a knock at the door changed everything. One of the Salvos caseworkers had come to tell me that the police were in the office to take my children back to my mum’s. I was screaming and crying – I didn’t want to let go.

The caseworker reassured me that they were there for me but that I needed to let the kids go for now, or it would be more distressing for all of us.

I was now hanging on by a thread, going through emotions of deep sorrow and heartbreak. I needed to make a choice. Do I run back to my old life where a quick fix could instantly make the feeling go away? Or do I stay at the Salvos and get the help I clearly needed?

On my own I just didn’t have the strength to face this battle, but with the help of the Salvos I knew I had a chance. So, I chose to stay.

Taking back control

Over the next few weeks, I focused on my issues, I wanted to change not only for my kids but for me as well. I started to attend some programs The Salvation Army had to offer, starting with the Positive Lifestyle Program, which gave me a deeper understanding of myself. I then started to see a psychologist through the refuge.

My caseworker helped me with a referral to the Women’s Legal Service and attended the Family Court with me as my support person while I worked on getting my kids back and giving them the life they deserved.

I took part in weekly activities, which genuinely changed me from the inside out. I began attending church and joined cooking classes at the refuge. Every Saturday I would go to see my kids.

Next, I found a job in a café and saved up enough money to buy a car. My life was beginning to make sense, but the world needed to catch up with my progress. I had one outstanding charge to attend at court, but this time I was able to show the judge how much my life had changed since I entered the refuge. Because of this, the charge was downgraded.

A life transformed through support

The Salvation Army supported me into stable housing, and my caseworker organised for me to go to the local Salvos Stores to pick out furniture. I was now equipped and capable to be the best person I could be. Not only for me, but for my kids as well.

Feeling more stable and secure than I had in a long time, I decided I wanted to work in community services. This was my chance to show people that if I can change, so can they. Now I am a support worker at a Salvation Army homelessness centre. One day I want to be a Salvos caseworker like those who helped me.

I thank Jesus every day for giving me the opportunity to experience the love and kindness of The Salvation Army. To come from being rejected to being accepted is an amazing feeling and one I will never forget.

I now have a purpose in my life for which I am eternally grateful. With the right support people, programs and hope, lives can be transformed. I’m so thankful that The Salvation Army was there for me.

Ruth and her daughter walking along holding hands

Your support can provide families with safety and stability

Family and domestic violence is a national crisis that hurts everyone. Ruth found a place of healing and strength with the help of the Salvos. You can help more people like Ruth when you give to the Red Shield Appeal.
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We value and include people of all cultures, languages, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and intersex status. We are committed to providing programs that are fully inclusive. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of people of all ages, particularly children.

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The Salvation Army is an international movement. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name with love and without discrimination.

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