Like many other women, Kate Frost is your average independent capable and energetic woman, but Kate went through a change that makes her very different from other women.
Once in a high-profile position as vice president of banking company Citibank Australia, Kate's life changed once her husband became very ill. It was at this point that she decided to step away from her high-flying success and reassess her life.
After consideration and consultation with a friend, Kate went from the hustle and bustle of the banking world, to a fulfilling and rewarding job in the not-for-profit sector with the YWCA of NSW.
The organisation works to assist disadvantaged families and provide a safe environment for men, women and children, within a healthy community. During 2008 and 2009, the organisation supported more than 35,100 disadvantaged people through more than 1200 volunteers.
Despite the large life change, Kate says she has not looked back and the new job has changed her whole outlook on life.
"It's made such a difference in my life that I have gone from not having any connection to the community to having a big connection. As a banker I did my job and lived my life," she said.
"Now, I do feel like I make a difference. Through my job I can engage with the community and people who benefit from our support and that makes me feel good."
One of the many social issues acknowledged at the YWCA is domestic violence.
Kate says the global organisation assists the community in two ways: the first is through assistance in dealing with what people may be going through; and the second works on a preventative basis, providing skills and behaviours.
"For domestic violence we use the same twofold approach," she said. "We run programs within a school environment, which teaches [students] how to manage and communicate in the hope of preventing domestic violence.
"But in spite of all the good work that organisations are doing, domestic violence still takes place."
Kate says there are a number of places within society which are recognised as those contributing to domestic violence.
"We are seeing violence throughout the community, at school, on sports fields and through cyber bullying. It surrounds our kids and unless we give them the skills to be able to deal with it they will not be able to," she said.
It is for this reason that the YWCA runs a number of education programs in schools and offer refuges for woman and their children as a safe place. Here they are assisted by the organisation through the court system and provided with counselling.
Kate says that for many, the psychological ramifications of domestic violence can be quite concerning.
"It's the psychological implications and that's devastating. There is the mental anguish that families go through because they are seen as victims and because they have no control and it can really impact young children," she says.
"Often the men who perpetrate [the violence] are as much victims as the women, they don't know how to communicate ... they don't' have the ability to break out of the cycle."
But why is domestic violence still such a problem in Australia and what makes people turn to violence?
Kate says domestic violence is not just the result of one simple thing.
"It is often the result of a whole lot of other conflicts in people's lives," she says. "And sometimes they just don't know how to work through that.
"We work with families to make sure domestic violence does not become intergenerational."
Kate says a big part of the YWCA program involves assistance to men in being educated about domestic violence.
"It's a little quirky because whilst we are led by women, for us this program is primarily aimed at men standing up and having a strong voice against domestic violence," she says.
If you would like to donate your time to help volunteer or your money to the YWAC NSW visit the: YWCA website or phone (02) 9285 6286.
In the first six months of 2009, the YWCA NSW assisted the following number of woman:
511 women victims of domestic violence were
supported through the court process;
43 young women escaping domestic violence have found safe homes;
168 women were given domestic-violence counseling
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