Rose Batty speaks at Jewish House gala dinner

December 2, 2015 by David Sokol
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Over 800 guests attended Sydney’s The Jewish House’s Gala Dinner at which 2015 Australian of the Year Rosy Batty spoke of her personal experiences of family violence.

CEO Rabbi Mendel Kastel Rabbi Kastel announced that benefactor Nora Goodridge had committed a further $1 million donation over the next five years to help support new programs.

Rose Batty Photo: David Sokol

Rose Batty Photo: David Sokol

He spoke of the major projects undertaken during the year giving an update on an ambitious three-year program aimed at providing emergency short-term accommodation to the homeless and said that more than 800 people had been assisted in this past year alone, with the program experiencing a 58% increase in demand and being able to deliver a 300% increase in accommodation services and talked about the crisis line which answered 1200 calls in the past year  and made mention of the program which catered for children from broken homes.

Rabbi Kastel said that in the area of family and domestic violence Jewish House will continue providing refuge for women and children fleeing abuse in the home adding that next year there will be a trial to keep the women and children in the home whilst providing accommodation for the perpetrator in order for him to leave the family. This will provide an opportunity for Jewish House to work holistically with the perpetrator including having him participate in a men’s behaviour change program. Another of the new projects is to develop an addiction intervention program for drug and alcohol affected people, a program called Professionals for People which will use professionals to train young people in assisting charities, and a new program focusing on primary school aged children which will provide development and support programs for children going through difficult times. The aim of this program is to work with schools, families, and therapists to ensure a consistent and collaborative approach, and if necessary referrals, for the children.

Key speaker Rosy Batty began by speaking of the passion that she knows that Jewish House has for its work with people in most need and with their compassion in working with vulnerable people on the front line.

Gabrielle Upton and Rabbi Mendel Kastel Photo: Divaid Sokol

Gabrielle Upton and Rabbi Mendel Kastel Photo: David Sokol

She gave a very personal account of living in a lovely suburb and having a lovely lifestyle with her son, Luke, and her aspirations of being the best mother that she could be and to give Luke every opportunity to realise his potential as a young man. She then described Luke’s father’s lifestyle of being homeless and addicted to marijuana, and how he used power and control to inflict psychological and financial abuse upon her, coupled with sexual violence and intimidation. She described how he used the system and the courts and the police, enabling him to continue his power and control abuse over her because no-one held him to account and nobody intervened. Ms. Batty shared the statistics that family violence affects one in three women and one in four children in Australia and that for the children the trauma experience is carried with them as they grow, with very little support being available. She talked about her experiences of not being able to see past the immediate power and control abuse which meant that she didn’t look or plan ahead – she said she tried to be the best she could be full Luke, day by day.

She said that when she started imposing boundaries on Luke’s father’s behaviour she had no idea of the danger she was placing herself and Luke in and that while she believes that Luke’s father loved him dearly this final act of power and control was to kill Luke.

Ms. Batty spoke warmly of Jewish House’s approach of giving hope to families in need because of abuse. She openly supported the new project to have the women and children stay in their homes whilst providing short-term accommodation for the perpetrators in order for them to leave. She said that every perpetrator should be given the opportunity to change their attitudes and behaviour which will come through education and counselling, so that

Gary Cohen, Rose Batty, Nora Goodridge, Roger Clifford and Rabbi Mendel Kastel Photo: Nadine Saaks

Gary Cohen, Rose Batty, Nora Goodridge, Roger Clifford and Rabbi Mendel Kastel Photo: Nadine Saaks

they can discover the reasons behind their behaviour and see that there is hope for them to change. But, she said, the community cannot ignore, condone, or dilute the man’s behaviour and the effect that this behaviour is having on the women and children in that family. Ms. Batty ended her presentation by saying that all perpetrators have choices.

Jewish House has been providing crisis care for over 30 years to the homeless, women and children escaping domestic violence, and those in crisis. The fund-raising was kicked off by a generous donation of $25,000 from the NSW State Government presented to Rabbi Kastel by State Attorney General Gabrielle Upton, Liberal member for Vaucluse.

With a silent auction, live option, raffle, and fundraising pledges all taking place throughout the evening there were plenty of opportunities for those in attendance to provide financial support to the ongoing work being undertaken by Jewish House.

Henry Roth MC’d the event at Sydney’s Westin Hotel. The three-man Rat Pack Reloaded provided a musical tribute to Frank Sinatra.

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