The SAYER Program

Louise Alexander, The SAYER Program

Louise Alexander | Wollongong, NSW

“Domestic and family violence (DFV) is a massive problem. It is destructive and its damage is complex. We all know unhealed trauma has the potential to ruin lives. Our project looks at ways for victims of DFV, including children, to have the opportunity to heal and recover. Our focus is healing the impact of complex trauma. We also seek to provide services and support pathways for social resilience and independence – health, legal, financial, housing.”

DVF is an issue that impacts many across regional Australia. At present, it is difficult for those seeking assistance to find adequate support services in many of these areas.  

The SAYER Foundation is a newly established residential social enterprise within the iAccelerate Centre at the University of Wollongong, which intends to assist both parents and children who have suffered DVF.    

The Foundation aims to ensure its program is evidence-based  and that the model is able to be adapted for communities locally, nationally and beyond. They have a pilot study scheduled to run in August-September of this year. 

Where are they now?

Louise and her team have established a cross-disciplinary team of experts from the University of Wollongong to better understand and tackle the social and cultural challenges for victims of domestic and family violence. They have also met with Executive Directors of the NSW Department of Education, who have offered their overall support for the implementation of the program – programs for students and families as well as professional learning focused on the impacts of complex trauma and how to best to support those impacted. The program will be initially trialled as part of a Pilot Study within a local regional public primary school. Seeking funding for the development of the SAYER program is next.