|Grace suffered abuse from the one person that should have protected her – her mother.
When Grace was just a young child, her mother gave her prescription medicines - drugs such as Valium to keep her quiet.
'I didn't choose this path in my life, my mother chose this path for me.' - Grace
This was the start of a real life tragedy. Grace grew up in a series of abusive circumstances; leading to a life involving drugs, crime and no place to call home.
Today, Grace still struggles to come to terms with the abuse from her mother, wondering if she will ever get over it. It is not the risk or harm that Grace has been exposed to throughout her life that saddens and troubles her most. It is the realisation that the abuse and risk was inflicted by the one person that should have loved and protected her.
To rescue a young person and get them back into a safe environment means our outreach workers need to understand the tragic circumstances that lead them to drugs, stealing, and a life on the streets.
When our outreach worker Byron first met Grace, she was living in a "squat", taking drugs and stealing to feed her addiction. Byron wondered why Grace's life took this particular path and started to explore Grace's past.
"I first thought about suicide when I was 11. Mum had stopped giving me Valium and so I started taking the drugs from mum's boyfriend at the time. The house we lived in was small and there were so many people coming and going. I didn't have my own bedroom and I wasn't told to go to school. There were many times I was sent to buy drugs for the adults."
It was at this point Byron explains that Grace's life really spiralled out of control.
"Grace was in and out of home, staying with older men and in unsafe situations. Perhaps at this point if Grace's mother had helped, she may not have fallen deeper into drugs. As often happens with drug addiction, Grace took to organised crime in order to feed her addiction. From 14-17, Grace stole cars and eventually was caught by police."
Byron knew that in order to get Grace away from these risky behaviours and situations, he would have to support Grace through many hurdles. The first issue was to ensure that Grace would not end up in juvenile detention. Whilst this was happening, Byron then contacted her father to reunite them and ask for him to provide accommodation for Grace - if only for the short term. Thankfully Grace is now living fulltime with her father's family.
For the last 12 months, Byron has helped Grace by encouraging her to deal with her drug addiction, arranging social security benefits, supporting her through court appearances and ultimately leading her to the positive and safe environment that she enjoys today.
"The path that Grace is on now looks brighter. I am so proud of the person that Grace is today. Although she has some dark days, she will contact me for support and we work through it together. It did take some time for Grace to trust me, but now she will talk over any issue – big or small." says Byron.