Meet the towing company that wants to move domestic violence victims, for free
SELF-confessed softy Mandy Antoniolli said she was willing to work even the graveyard shift at a fast-food restaurant so she could help more women trapped in abusive relationships.
With plans underway to create an all-female trucking company called Towie Az, Ms Antoniolli is offering her services free of charge for all victims of domestic violence. She said her decision had nothing to do with "dollars and cents" and that she would be willing to put in extra hours "filling napkins at Maccas" so she could afford to help victims when they needed it most.
Operating out of 1770 and having never been a victim of domestic violence, Ms Antoniolli said she's helped plenty of her friends to move out and away from abusive partners.
"I just thought that if I can help my friends, why can't I help others?" she said. "They may only have an hour or two to get their things out of a house. But I'd carry it out on my back if I had to."
Gladstone Women's Health Centre manager Tash Fee said she often spoke to women who couldn't flee domestic violence because they couldn't afford to move.
"We're seeing a lot of victims that want to leave but because the husband controls the money, they can't," Ms Fee said. "They can't afford the cost of furniture removal, two weeks rent and bond."
Ms Antoniolli has big plans to take her all-female trucking company Australia wide and hopes to be able to provide her domestic violence service in every state. She said she hoped to bridge the gap between domestic violence campaigns like Not In Our Town and more practical services.
"There's a missing link and my trucks might be able to give that practical, more hands on help that's needed," Ms Antoniolli said. "If my trucks can be there to give these girls some hope then they can start the healing process."
Ms Antoniolli's next step will be to link up with the various domestic violence services throughout the region so victims are able to get in touch with her whenever they need to.
She has also been offered a talking spot at this Friday's Silent Violence Conference at the GECC, which has been organised to connect victims with service providers and to talk specifically about financial matters.
The head of DV Connect, Di Mangan, will be the keynote speaker. The event will start at 9am.