Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Are You in Need of Domestic Violence Support? Ask Izzy for Help

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Are You in Need of Domestic Violence Support? Ask Izzy for Help

Article excerpt

DOMESTIC violence survivors played a key role in a two-year project to enhance a mobile database connecting Australians with support services including housing, money, material and legal options.

Infoxchange Australia's ground-breaking Ask Izzy puts 360,000 support services at the fingertips of anyone with an internet-enabled device.

From doctors to accommodation providers, the database provides the details of every medical, legal, financial, housing, community care, education and social justice organisation helping men, women, children and young people to find the support they need.

It meets the needs of people from diverse communities including people with physical, sensory, intellectual and/or other disabilities, the aged, those with health problems, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, refugees, asylum seekers and people who have English as a second language.

Accessed by 172,000 Aussies in crisis over the past three years, the biggest uptake has been from women.

About 20 per cent of all searches relate to domestic and family violence.

With that in mind, Infoxchange asked 40 abuse survivors to help it improve the database's domestic violence features that are now live.

Vicky Vacondoios is one of those women.

The mother of three spent a lot of time living rough following family violence many years ago.

At the time mobile phones were far from smart, so Ms Vacondoios would go to internet cafes to search online for support services including housing and material aid.

Back then there was no central database like Ask Izzy so it could be a haphazard affair to track down refuges, material aid, legal services and the like.

"I was navigating the crisis support system myself," Ms Vacondoios said.

"I was sleeping in hotel rooms and the next day I'd have to rush to a service to try and get help.

"I would drop the children off at school in the morning then race to the internet cafes to try to find a way out of this. …

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