‘Westfield Hero’ Elena Gosse donates $10,000 to help women escaping domestic violence

A passionate supporter and long-time advocate for Women’s Legal Service Queensland(WLSQ), Elena Gosse has been named one of three Westfield Local Heroes from Westfield Carindale, and secured a $10,000 donation to help women escape domestic and family violence.

The co-owner and CEO of Brisbane’s AIS Water, Elena has donated her prize money to WLSQ to help boost the capacity of its call centre which helps to provide free legal and support services to assist women living with domestic and family violence.

Each of the Westfield Local Heroes was nominated for the honour by their communities, with three winners named for each Westfield centre as determined by a public vote. The program recognises and celebrates individuals who make a positive impact to their local community and helps promote strong community role models.

Elena grew up in a household plagued by family violence. Arriving in Australia from Russia 26 years ago, Elena has made it her life’s purpose to be a role model for other women and children living with violence, showing them they can not only survive through it, but go on to thrive professionally and personally.

She is a living example of overcoming the odds, now running a multi-million-dollar, global water disinfection company for commercial and residential swimming pools.

“No-one is immune to domestic violence,” Elena explains. “It impacts all ethnic, religious, social, economic and cultural backgrounds and is a very real problem we cannot turn our backs on.

“We know that behind closed doors, some people are living through their own personal hell and with COVID-19 increasing unemployment, financial insecurity and fear, this has become much worse for some directly affected.

“I believe we all have a duty to do what we can to help stop domestic and family violence from supporting those trying to escape it, as well as encouraging perpetrators of the violence to seek counselling and education.”

In 2018-19, WLSQ provided 30,000 services for women and children escaping domestic violence, answering 9,761 calls on its helpline – an increase of 26% from the previous year. This year the pandemic has seen even more demand for its services. Sadly, about 50% of calls have been left unanswered because WLSQ simply does not have the resources available for all those who need its help.

Angela Lynch, CEO WLSQ said the funds are very welcome.

“We are so grateful to Westfield and Elena. The Westfield Local Heroes grant will make a huge difference, Angela said.

“With this we’ll be able to provide life-changing free legal and social work help to women and their children who have experienced domestic violence.

“Westfield Local Heroes and Elena’s efforts will be life changing and possibly life saving for our clients.”

Elena has been associated with WLSQ for the last four years.

“It is clear that we still have a long way to go if they are to be able to meet the demand for their services, Elena said.

“There is an enormous need out there for these services and it is also growing because of the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

“Uncertainty and fear can be powerful breeding grounds for domestic violence, so the need for our help now is greater than ever.”

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