In February 2015, Canberra mum of three Tara Costigan was struck with an axe by her ex-partner Marcus Rappel. At the time, she was holding their eight-day-old baby, while her two sons (from a previous partner) watched the horror unfold.
Desperate to save other Canberra families from the heartache of domestic violence, Tara’s uncle Michael Costigan established the Tara Costigan Foundation in June of that year.
Three years on from that tragic day, the Foundation is well and truly making a difference in the local community – helping men, women and children rebuild their lives after domestic violence shattered their confidence, destroyed their finances, and unravelled their lives.
Samantha Costigan, Executive Officer of the Tara Costigan Foundation, says that the Foundation’s new Angel program is now in full swing and is receiving incredible feedback from recipients.
“The Tara’s Angels program is a post-crisis service that helps those affected by domestic violence rebuild their lives. We can go with them to court, help with paperwork, get kids back into school, find a permanent place to live, help them with employment – we can even take kids to a hairdresser appointment if needed. It’s about offering whatever support is needed to help them get their life back on track and regain confidence.
“We aim to work with recipients for up to two years – helping them establish their independence and build new support networks. So far the program has had a 100% success rate, and we regularly receive comments such as, ‘You’ve changed my life’ and ‘I could never have done this without you’. It brings us such joy to hear that we are helping to change people’s lives in a positive way.”
Tara’s Angels has been so successful that the program now has a waiting list, which Samantha says is heartbreaking.
“There are people who really need our help, and we simply cannot help them right now because our resources are stretched to the limit. We need additional funds to employ more Angels (qualified social workers who also receive a budget for each family in the program).”
The Tara Costigan Foundation recently received a $500 grant from Calwell Community Bank, after being nominated by the Tuggeranong community. Samantha says they are so grateful for the donation, which will all go towards their capacity to hire another Angel.
Anyone who is suffering from domestic violence, or has recently been through it, can call the Foundation for assistance.
“If you’re in a domestic violence situation, you can call, email or Facebook message us. We will provide you with a list of places you can go to get that initial help to escape the situation. We recommend anyone in crisis should contact the Domestic Violence Crisis Service.
“Once you are not in any immediate danger and feel that a little support would go a long way to helping you rebuild your life, we would certainly love to bring you into the Tara’s Angels program.”
To learn more about Tara’s Angels, or to provide a much needed donation, please visit Tara Costigan Foundation.