There’s No Place Like Home Episode Two: Geraldine

By Future Women


By Future Women

INTRO: This series comes with a content note for anyone who has been through abuse or knows someone who has. Statistically, that is a lot of us. Some of what you’ll hear in this podcast is distressing. Although we know it’s important to hear directly from victim-survivors about what they’ve been through, this content may be confronting and won’t be suitable for everyone.

Please check the show notes for phone numbers you can contact to receive confidential support.

There’s No Place Like Home is a Future Women podcast in collaboration with our proud partner, Commonwealth Bank; supporting long-term financial independence for victim-survivors through CommBank Next Chapter.

We acknowledge that we produced this series on what always has been, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

GERALDINE BILSTON: This experience has changed me. And I know that I can’t be who I was supposed to be. And sometimes I still grieve for who I should have been, and who I could have been in the life that I was supposed to have.

TARANG CHAWLA: My name is Tarang Chawla, and I am a writer, lawyer and anti-violence advocate. I’m also the host of There’s No Place Like Home, a podcast about family violence that puts the voices of survivors at the centre of the story.

To someone outside a dangerous relationship, it seems obvious, doesn’t it? If you’re being treated in a way that you don’t like, simply pack your bags and go.

But the reality is far from simple.

Family violence rarely presents in life, the way it does in the movies. Violence and abuse occur within a complex web of expectation, pressure, manipulation, coercion and control.

To help us understand this better, we’re joined today by an incredible victim-survivor, expert and advocate, Geraldine Bilston.


GERALDINE BILSTON: [Indistinct] He’s trying to hit us in the car

OPERATOR: Sorry? What’s happening? What’s happening?

GERALDINE BILSTON: He’s trying to hit us in the car


GERALDINE BILSTON: He’s trying to hit us in the car

OPERATOR: He’s, you are, you’re driving in a car, are you?

GERALDINE BILSTON: He’s trying to hit us in the car

OPERATOR: Ok and so what’s he driving the car at?

GERALDINE BILSTON: [Indistinct] He’s driving the car. [Indistinct] driving off now.

OPERATOR: Ok so you’ve just driven off has you?


TARANG CHAWLA: That’s the harrowing moment Geraldine’s ex-partner – let’s call him Ted – drove a car at Geraldine and her mum, Anne.

ANNE BILSTON: I never liked him even from the very beginning. I never liked him. He’s, he’s crazy with cars revving, revving, revving, revving, like all the rubbers burning. And anyway, he went off and we went around the corner. And that’s when that’s when he drove the car at us.

You know I thought that he actually thought he was going to kill her but I thought he’d kill all of us.

TARANG CHAWLA: To an outsider that attack on Geraldine and Anne might have seemed out of character. But it was actually the violent culmination of a sinister pattern of abuse that Ted had inflicted over many years.

GERALDINE BILSTON: I fell in love really quick, I trusted him really quick. I like, I wanted all those things. I wanted to feel special, I wanted to be swept off my feet, I wanted to be special to someone. And he was like, really exciting when we met and we… everything just progressed really quickly, and it was really, like, exciting and, in a strange way, he made me feel really safe. And you know I guess that there’s a vulnerability in being that person, but, you know, I feel like I was preyed upon by someone who was always going to take advantage of those things.

TARANG CHAWLA: Geraldine’s mum Anne says that she always knew something was off about Ted.

ANNE BILSTON: The whole family didn’t like him. And I’d arrange these family dinners, you know, we’d go out for dinner or lunch, or they’d come to our place or something. And nobody really wanted to come, they only came because they loved her and they, they were worried. They probably were sort of worrying about themselves. So they all winge and moan, they all turn up. And we’d all get through it. And he’d sometimes he was fine. And sometimes he would sit there and not speak and hardly talk to anybody but other times he’d be fine.

He wasn’t so much rude to Geraldine all the time. But when he was rude to her he was very rude. He just thought that he was better than everybody else.

TARANG CHAWLA: As time passed, Ted became more and more controlling. His influence over every aspect of Geraldine’s life, the way he belittled her and made her feel disposable, the way he surveilled her activity, started to take a toll.

The impact of physical violence is easier to measure. Most of the time, cuts and bruises, damage to someone’s body, is visible and therefore provable. But for Geraldine, until that awful moment that Ted drove a car at her and her mum, the violence perpetrated against her usually took a different form.

Far too often, our community asks in retrospect why victims like Geraldine didn’t leave. But at the time this sort of insidious and controlling violence is happening, victims rarely have the words to define what’s happening to them as being violence.

Let me introduce you to Dr Julia De Boos…

DR JULIA DE BOOS: I am an emergency physician, which means that I help run an emergency department. Within that role, I’m the director of emergency medical training. And I work part time or casually at the Gold Coast Hospital in forensic medicine.

TARANG CHAWLA: As both a forensic doctor and emergency physician, Dr De Boos looks for signs of violence that are less obvious than scrapes and bruises.

Whenever someone comes to her with an injury, she assesses whether they might be a victim of violence, so that she can get them help, rather than send them back to an unsafe situation.

Dr De Boos says you’d be surprised by the myriad of ways abuse shows in the human body.

DR JULIA DE BOOS: It can present in all sorts of ways. It can present with physical injuries, but it can also present with psychological distress, it can present with drug and alcohol presentations, it can present with someone neglecting their own health, because one of the first things you do when you’re in a domestic abusive relationship is not meet your own needs. Because your life becomes about meeting somebody else’s needs, to the exclusion of your own.

TARANG CHAWLA: Nonetheless, Dr De Boos and her colleagues are continually challenged by the fact that so many cases of coercive control result in harm that isn’t physically diagnosable.

DR JULIA DE BOOS: Even if the abuse isn’t directly making you sick, it will impact your experience of your own illness, because domestic abuse tends to, but doesn’t exclusively, resolve around an isolating and undervaluing of that person, and someone else feeling entitled to control that person in their life. So within that, whether or not you get physical injuries is not the defining feature of the abuse. The control and the lack of control over your own life is more more a defining feature than episodes of violence.

TARANG CHAWLA: Geraldine was the victim of years of controlling and manipulative behaviour perpetrated by her partner Ted. Behaviours that left her scared for her life.

GERALDINE BILSTON: There were a few times where I woke up, and he was on my phone. And he was like, texting people that I worked with, to pretend that he was me, and, you know, other male colleagues and a real jealousy around that. And people would say to me, like, ‘why did you text me those strange messages?’. And I guess from the content of them that they realized that it wasn’t me texting, and it’s so humiliating. And yet I kind of protected him in that as well. Like, I didn’t sort of let people call that behaviour out that I just kind of, I guess I was ashamed of what was going on.

TARANG CHAWLA: This pattern of behaviour is what experts call coercive control. This is violence that happens slowly. It doesn’t come out of nothing. It is a gradual building up that begins with other controlling, cruel, threatening and intimidating behaviours. Together these subtle acts combine to strip away the victim’s sense of self worth, their loving relationships and personal freedoms.

DR KATE FITZ-GIBBON: I am Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon, I’m director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Center in Victoria.

TARANG CHAWLA: Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon has spent over a decade researching different forms of violence against women with a specific focus on intimate partner violence and homicide, and the adequacy of the system responses.

DR KATE FITZ-GIBBON: We know when we look at things through a coercive control lens that at five processes focuses us on a pattern of abuse. It encourages us not to think about domestic and family violence as single isolated experiences of abuse, because that’s not how women experience it. They experience it as a pattern of harm that may impact their everyday. May or may manifest in a physical, violent incident, once a week, once upon never, but they walk on eggshells every day and their liberty, their confidence, their well being is impacted by that pattern of abuse.

TARANG CHAWLA: The pattern of coercive control looks different for everyone, and it can include things that look pretty innocuous to an outsider.

ANNE BILSTON: I used to think that she was such a good housekeeper because that house was spick and span.. It was never anything anywhere.

GERALDINE BILSTON: After I escaped people said to me, ‘your house was like a hospital, like it was so clean’. But for him, it was never clean enough. And he would regularly come home from work and find, like, try to find something out of place in the house and get really angry, he would use that as a reason to be abusive, and angry, and all of that sort of thing.

TARANG CHAWLA: And then? Geraldine found out that she was expecting a child. Pregnancy is a significant risk factor for women who are in abusive relationships. It often marks the escalation of violence.

GERALDINE BILSTON: That was really when things just got quite bad. And he just really took things up a notch.

TARANG CHAWLA: In 2020, the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Dr Hayley Boxall published a paper on women’s experiences of domestic violence during the pandemic.

Here’s what she found…

DR HAYLEY BOXALL: Women who were pregnant were somewhere between like three and four times more likely to experience physical and sexual violence compared to women who were not pregnant in the last three months. Physical violence and intimate partner violence in general is associated with really negative pregnancy outcomes for women. So including things like stillbirth, low birth weight for babies, and longer term physical and health issues for their children.

TARANG CHAWLA: This is not just a pandemic phenomenon. A UK study of domestic violence and pregnancy from 2006 found that pregnancy is a time of “greater autonomy over one’s body, self-awareness and independence”… and that abusive partners may decide to use violence to regain control in a relationship where they feel they’re no longer the centre of attention.

GERALDINE BILSTON: He started to pick on my appearance, and I had stopped working. And I feel like that, that was when, like, the psychological abuse really kicked in and was like, it was like I just couldn’t do anything, right. In terms of, like, groceries, sometimes it would be that I would have spent too much money but then other times that would be like why do you always buy cheap food? And so it was like, such a lose lose situation. And when you’re trying to navigate that, it messes with your head in a way that you start to feel like you’re the problem.

TARANG CHAWLA: For Geraldine, this was when Ted’s controlling behaviours gave way to acts of physical violence. Her body became the outlet for Ted’s anger and frustrations, and she became even more unsafe in her own home.

GERALDINE BILSTON: He came home and he found this earbud in my daughter’s room, and he flew off the handle, and I yelled back, and I said, ‘the house is clean, I’m not taking this on board’. And he got really really angry. And he picked me up and threw me through the door. And my daughter was there. And she was two and a half at the time. And so I hit the wall, and I scrambled up. And as I was getting up, I saw my daughter run towards the bathroom. And so I took off after her. And when I got in there, she was crouched in an empty bath hiding. And I just, as I looked at her, I just knew in my head at that time that what I had been going through was, manageable for me, but this was not okay. And that, seeing her like that, it just kicked something in me where I was like, no, I have to get out.

TARANG CHAWLA: Geraldine convinced Ted to drive her to her parents house. In the car, she asked him for her phone.

GERALDINE BILSTON: I had nothing on me. No purse, no nothing. And so I just said to him, ‘I’m gonna need my phone. Like I just I’m not gonna take anything else, I’ll just take my phone’. And he said, ‘No, you’re not, no, it’s not, it’s not your Phone, it’s my phone, and you’re not having it’. And so I started to beg and say, ‘I really need my phone, I won’t take anything else, please, can I have the phone?’. And he wouldn’t give it to me. And in the end, he hit me across the face with the phone. And so my daughter’s in the backseat, while all of this is going on, and she just, like lost it. And immediately like, as soon as he hit me across the face with the phone, my face just started to swell and bruise. And I couldn’t see out of my left eye, and I was crying, and he was freaking out. And I said, ‘I can’t believe you’ve done this’. And he said, ‘I didn’t do it, I didn’t do that’. And I said ‘you did it, you just did that to me’. And he said, ‘well, I didn’t mean to do it’. And I was like, oh, like I just, you know, it was just like a really awful time. And I said, ‘just just drive me to my parents, just take us to my parents house’. And he was like, ‘okay’, and he took off towards my parents house. And then he stopped in the middle of the road and he said, ‘no, I’m not, I’m not taking you, I’m not taking you to your parents house’. And so like internally, I just was so scared – I’ve never been so scared. And I just, yeah, I just didn’t know how I was going to get it out. And then I just said to him, ‘there’s a 24 hour medical clinic, we can go together, let’s go together there. I can’t see out of my eye. We can go, you know, it’ll be fine’. And so he agreed to that and we drove there. Like I said, I had nothing. I was in tracksuit pants, a singlet. I had nothing for my daughter. We get there, I jumped out of the car and I hobbled into this 24 hour medical clinic with him beside me and my daughter in my arms. And there was, um, it was quite late at night. And there was a security guard at the front, like, of this clinic and some people inside. And as we got into the inside, I just screamed, and I just said ‘he did this to me’. And he took off. And that’s that’s how I got away.

TARANG CHAWLA: Geraldine’s mum Anne knew that Ted was abusing her daughter. Anne watched on helplessly as the coercive nature of the relationship had escalated over time. She knew that her daughter was in trouble.

So, when Geraldine called her mum for help – and Anne saw those bruises on her daughter’s body – her reaction was one of relief. Finally, she had evidence of abuse and an acknowledgement from her daughter, Geraldine, of what was really going on.

ANNE BILSTON: I think I probably was really happy because I thought that we’ll be able to do something now. We’ll, we’ll have something to work with. We can talk her out of being with him because he’s… it’s, it’s there for everybody else to see.

TARANG CHAWLA: In 2020, Dr Boxall was keeping busy. In addition to her earlier research on violence during pregnancy, she is conducting ongoing work into women’s experiences of coercive control.

We asked Dr Boxall to explain what she’s learning about this insidious form of abuse and why it’s so hard for loving family and friends – people like Anne – to speak up until coercion gives way to physical violence.

DR HAYLEY BOXALL: Experiencing jealousy, a suspicion of friends was really, really common. So 73% of women said that their current or former partner had exhibited those behaviours towards them in the last three months. So that can look like they like, you know, your friends don’t like you very much or be or saying things like your friends and family don’t like me, they’re not supportive of our relationship, things of that kind of nature. And the next most common behaviour was experiencing emotionally abusive and threatening behaviours. So 67% of women reported those types of behaviours in their relationship, followed by monitoring of their time and whereabouts, which is about 65%. The monitoring of time of whereabouts could be really simple things like asking them to account for where they’ve been and who they’ve been with, and things like that, as well as online forms of coercive control. So things like wondering their whereabouts by stalking their social media and things like that, as well as in person, real world, physical stalking, which is really concerning. We also found that about half of women experienced financial abuse, which we defined as part of the study as making large purchases or making financial decisions without the consent of their partner.

TARANG CHAWLA: It’s worth noting that Dr Boxall’s examples don’t encompass all forms of abuse, and that non-physical violence takes many forms, which we’ll cover throughout this series.

Ted perpetrated many of the behaviours just mentioned against Geraldine – and that controlling behaviour changed her life forever. It ate away at who she was, her self confidence, her self esteem and her self worth.

GERALDINE BILSTON: I was a shell of a person. I wasn’t making any decisions for myself. I was so beaten down inside that I didn’t believe in myself or my ability to navigate life? And so how was I ever going to make a choice to stay or leave?

TARANG CHAWLA: In 2020, researchers from the University of South Australia and Flinders University mapped the long-term psychological trauma that stems from domestic abuse. In that study, 70 percent of women were psychologically healthy before the abuse.

90 percent experienced poor mental health during the abusive relationship. And remarkably, 65 percent rated their mental health as poor even after they were able to leave. What’s scariest of all is that five years later, 16 percent were still struggling…

GERALDINE BILSTON: Really well meaning people have said to me, you’re not a victim, you’re a survivor. And it’s meant to empower me. And it’s meant to make me feel strong. But I actually just find it really painful and offensive, because it’s as if I’m supposed to feel a shame around being a victim. I’m not ashamed of being a victim, somebody abused me. And that is not my shame, that’s his shame. And when I think about the women and children that have not survived, and have lost their lives, they are brave. They are strong. There’s nothing shameful about the fact that they didn’t survive. That’s, that’s their perpetrators’ shame.

TARANG CHAWLA: As you can hear from Geraldine, through coercive control, Ted stole her sense of safety in the world… Which begs the questions, how come it’s not illegal?

DR HAYLEY BOXALL: Things like stalking is pretty universally criminalised. Things like verbally abusive and threatened behaviours are criminalised in a number of states and territories. I think the debate that we have at the moment is more about understanding coercive control as a pattern of violence and abuse. And I think that that’s something that really does differ across the states in terms of where they’re at in terms of thinking about whether or not to criminalise those behaviours specifically.

TARANG CHAWLA: Coercive control isn’t well understood outside the family violence sector. Despite there being extensive research about the causes and the extent of the problem.

The term coercive control is used in civil law in some states and territories today. At the moment, Tasmania is the only jurisdiction with a specific coercive control offence in its criminal code, although use of offence to prosecute abusers is limited.

Legislation to combat coercive control is currently being considered, or is in the process of becoming law, in every state and territory in Australia.

Geraldine is concerned that while specific crimes may be outlawed – crimes like stalking, threatening children, or denying someone’s freedoms – the overarching pattern of controlling behaviour still isn’t captured by Australian law.

GERALDINE BILSTON: Our incident based model that focuses on physical violence is not acceptable, the status quo is not acceptable. And when our system responds only to those incidents and only to physical violence, it completely ignores the pattern of abuse, it completely ignores the psychological impacts. And it lets down victims who have not experienced physical violence, and for me, what that looks like is that I am forced into a situation where I have to feel grateful for being beaten, and other victims have to wish that that happened to them, and that is not right. There is something wrong with our system when it looks like that.

TARANG CHAWLA: Justine Reid is a proud Gangulu [Gang-gah-loo] woman, a social worker and a senior policy advisor in the Aboriginal Engagement Unit at the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. She’s also a survivor of domestic violence and supports criminalising coercive control.

JUSTINE REID: It will give police and magistrates and the people who are enacting the law a better understanding of how domestic violence works and operates. That’s not the solution, but it’s part of the solution. And by acknowledging that it’s not always physical – and sometimes the first instance of a physical act is often, often results in the death of a woman – there has been this pattern of abuse that has happened insidiously over time.

TARANG CHAWLA: There are many victim-survivors, advocates and lobby groups who agree with Geraldine and Justine. They say that by criminalising coercive control, we can intervene against perpetrators before they become physically violent – instead of afterwards.

But there are also important voices who are concerned about making coercive control a crime. Some experts believe a legal solution – especially one that puts more power in the hands of police – simply won’t work for all victims and could even be dangerous.

Domestic Violence Victoria fears that police, judges, prosecutors and courts don’t have sufficient understanding of the complexity of coercive control and how it presents. Without the knowledge of how to identify a perpetrator and intervene when these dangerous patterns emerge, incorrect findings could be made.

Without sufficient training for police and legal professionals, the true harm of coercive control could be overlooked or misunderstood.

DR HAYLEY BOXALL: First Nations women, women with a disability, younger women, women experiencing extreme levels of financial stress, were more likely to experience physical and sexual violence and coercive control, as well as women who are pregnant.

TARANG CHAWLA: Dr Boxall says marginalised groups are more likely to become victims of coercive control. And they face another risk as well. A risk from within the criminal justice system.

A 2020 study by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, otherwise known as ANROWS, found that Australian police responses to domestic violence often displayed racism and biased attitudes.

Separate research into women who had been killed by their partner in Queensland in 2017 found that almost half of them had been previously labelled as the perpetrator by police before being murdered.

A substantial – and disproportionate – number of those victims were First Nations women.

DIXIE LINK-GORDON: My name is Dixie Link-Gordon, I’m a Goreng Goreng woman from southeast Queensland. I have been living on Gadigal land here in inner city, Sydney, for the last 41 years. Over the last six years, I’ve been employed by Women’s Legal Service, New South Wales, and I’m a senior worker in the First Nations Women’s Legal Program. I’m not a lawyer, I’m very much a community minded woman.

TARANG CHAWLA: Dixie doesn’t believe that criminalising coercive control as a new stand-alone offence would help First Nations and Torres Strait Islander victim-survivors.

DIXIE LINK-GORDON: With family violence, domestic violence, community violence, they’re all interwoven with any community, any society that has certainly been impacted by colonialization. The violence that’s practiced down through time, the mirrored behavior of the imperialist will come through on First Nations people. It will impact and it will show itself, it will reveal itself in many ways.

Are we good at reporting? No. It’s something that we’ve got to sort out ourselves? Yes, overwhelmingly, yes. We feel we can sort it out.

What happens to non-Aboriginal women in this society is in the news every other week. What happens to First Nations women and Torres Strait Island women is far more sinister and under the radar, unfortunately. Whether it’s how the system responds to it – the system as in policing authorities, hospitals, medical services – how they respond makes a lot of difference on how we get around to report.

TARANG CHAWLA: Currently there is no international research to prove that coercive control doesn’t harm marginalised or disadvantaged victims. Australian state laws haven’t been around long enough for us to draw conclusions either.

Moreover, there are important questions about how such laws will be implemented. Especially since there is no nationally consistent definition of domestic abuse and violence in Australia.

In 2015, Victoria held a landmark royal commission into family and domestic violence following the murder of Luke Batty and after years of work by advocates and campaigners.

Lauren Callaway has been in Victoria Police for 28 years. She’s also the Assistant Commissioner of its Family Violence Command. She’s the first woman appointed to the role. We spoke to her about calls to legislate coercive control in the state of Victoria.

Assistant Commissioner Callaway is more optimistic. She reflects on the work that has already been done in Victoria and believes that the path forward is promising.

Specifically, she says Victorian police already have the tools to address many controlling behaviours, including stalking and financial abuse.

LAUREN CALLAWAY: So in 2018, we rolled out a new risk assessment and management tool to guide the police response. It’s called the family violence report. It’s a report, but it’s also a risk assessment. We do one of those reports every family violence incident we attend. And the first question we asked on that report focuses on controlling behavior and showing police are looking at the entire picture of harm. We ask ‘has the respondent exhibited any controlling or jealous behaviors?’. So we have our eye firmly on the issue of coercive control.

TARANG CHAWLA: For Assistant Commissioner Callaway, professional understanding is crucial.

Again, it all comes back to education – and the good news is that education is something we can control. It’s a policy tool at the disposal of governments, should they wish to use it.

LAUREN CALLAWAY: Whenever there is a new law that comes in it, there is an expectation that community and the judicial system will understand immediately how it’s going to be applied. And I think on the issue of coercive control, that’s going to require a fair bit of investment to lift that understanding and application of the law.

TARANG CHAWLA: Some state governments are already considering this question in detail. A political consensus seems possible, if only we can find the momentum for change.

In 2022, politicians of all stripes now appear more open to intervening and keeping people safe. They’re taking the time to hear from police, experts and survivors, before taking further steps.

Julie Aylward has worked as a Crown Prosecutor in Queensland for decades. She took part in Queensland’s examination of possible coercive control laws that we mentioned earlier.

JULIE AYLWARD: I can’t actually yet get my head around what that’s going to look like. I’m all for something that covers the scope of a relationship. We have definitions of domestic violence, and and they’re very wide reaching as they should be. But I don’t know how they’re going to define coercive control, if that is to be an offence. So hopefully, what they come up with is, you know, is something that’s going to be easy to prosecute.

TARANG CHAWLA: Here’s Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon again.

DR KATE FITZ-GIBBON: We’re having an across Australia, a large debate and conversation about coercive control. The important thing to come out of that, I hope, will be granted community awareness as to what coercive and controlling behaviors look like, and understanding that these behaviors are unacceptable. And then, of course, within the different services and systems that intersect with victim-survivors, we need that professional understanding of what that looks like and how it may manifest within those roles.

We need to ensure that those who are working within the criminal justice system are aware of how family and domestic violence is evolving, and that where possible and where appropriate, we’re also reforming our laws to best reflect the experiences of victim-survivors.

TARANG CHAWLA: Geraldine, her mum and her daughter are doing well now. I know this, because I’m lucky enough to call Geraldine a friend. There’s so much more that I could tell you about her if only we had the time. She’s intelligent and warm. She is a powerful advocate. She’s driven. And she’s a great mum.

Geraldine is so many things that have nothing to do with this traumatic chapter of her life. Here’s what she hopes you’ll remember.

GERALDINE BILSTON: Growing up, I was a really vibrant person, like, I was really happy, I was so positive, I was driven, I could have been really professionally successful – all of those things. And this experience has changed me. And I know that I can’t be who I was supposed to be. And it changed the trajectory of my life and sometimes I still grieve for who I should have been, and who I could have been in the life that I was supposed to have.

He stole so much from me, and he took so much away from my life that I know that I can’t get back. But I also know that, that he couldn’t take away my hope. And that that is something that I hold on to. And even though I can’t be who I was supposed to be, I am putting myself back together and I am finding a way to harness that hope.

TARANG CHAWLA: In the next episode of There’s No Place Like Home, we’ll meet May* – a devoted mum who was forced to sleep in her car with her newborn daughter because of her abusive partner… and ask the question: when she leaves, where does she go?

MAY*: I started to really understand how people end up, you know, rough sleeping for so long. And I was with this tiny little baby – who was so vulnerable. And I was hyper, hyper vigilant because I was so scared all the time at what would happen.

TARANG CHAWLA: See you next time.

OUTRO: There’s No Place Like Home is a Future Women podcast supported by our proud partner, Commonwealth Bank; supporting long-term financial independence for victim-survivors through CommBank Next Chapter.

For help or advice, please check the show notes for phone numbers for confidential support.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review. It will help these important stories to reach more people’s ears. For more information about There’s No Place Like Home, or to join the movement, please head to futurewomen.com.

This episode was produced by Jamila Rizvi, Sally Spicer, Tarang Chawla, Fleur Bitcon, Ella Jackson, Ruby Leahy Gatfield, India Bailey and Kate Leaver. Editing by Bad Producer Productions. Artwork by Patti Andrews.