The turning point for John Siaki happened a few years ago when he was making a delivery, just like any other day.
How John witnessed domestic violence
I went to a customer’s house to deliver a lounge suite.
I asked him politely “where do you want the lounge to be assembled?”
The lady tells me, “over there.”
The husband turned around and started yelling at the wife. “It better not take too long, he better put it in the right place, I don’t want to have to move it after.”
The wife said “don’t worry honey, it will be.
He goes “Don’t you answer back at me” and he hit her. When he hit her I felt like and had no power.
It was then that I realised there are other people suffering more than what I am suffering. I went home and I said to my wife: “Let’s go and help out these ladies that are silent.”
There are a lot of ladies who are silent. Not just ladies. There are some men as well.John Siaki
John runs a removalist company from Collingwood Park. He and his wife Nga have five children.
John recently posted on his Facebook page on October 6: “Hi I’m john and I own and operate S.S.REMOVAL. We have been donated a lot of furniture over the years for domestic violence victims. We have storage sheds full of furniture that might need cleaning out as we have reached full capacity and now my garage isn’t seeing daylight. If you know anyone that is struggling and needing furniture please let them know about S.S.REMOVAL and what we do, as we are a 24hr service.”
“I put that post up, and it’s reached places that I would never imagine. I’ve had people messaging me from America, UK, Uganda and South Africa,” he said.
Community is important to John and he insists helping out keeps him a happier person.
“My trucks kept coming back with furniture,” he said.
“We get to a removal and a customer says they are going to throw the fridge away so I’ll say I’ll take it and donate it. I get it for free and I give it for free.
“I don’t need to make profit off it. I need to help someone else that doesn’t have a fridge, like someone who has five kids and is using an esky for a fridge.”
Calls taken by DV Connect Womensline in Queensland each month
Number of women assisted by DVConnect each month
Children moved to safety every month by DVConnect
John’s passion is to work on cars. He helps his mate, Trevor Higgs (right) at McPherson Mechanical Repairs in Woodend.
John’s generosity has inspired others. Trevor, for example, donated a 4WD ute to John so he could continue his charity work.
“I was raised by a house with two girls in it, my mother and sister. So I was always taught good morals towards women,” Trevor said.
He wanted to help John out.
“Talking with John, and seeing his passion about helping woman who are treated wrong. I haven’t got money but I can donate a car and keep his truck on the road so he can keep helping women in need,” Trevor said.
John credits his wife and his mother for playing a key part in his life.
John was raised in a family of 21.
“My Mother was the strongest woman ever. She adopted children from families who couldn’t afford them,” John said.
Jennifer Malcolm, of Ipswich, is a survivor of domestic violence.
“I think it’s a great service he is offering,” she said.
“Getting out of the house is dangerous and people often don’t’ want to get involved.
“When I left I just had the clothes on my back, a few toys and items, whatever I could fit in an old caravan. So I still have furniture I bought from St Vinnies 10 years ago. It takes a long time to get back on your feet and have a fully furnished home again.”
Jennifer found the Domestic Violence Action Centre offered important services, such as helping with home security and running programs on electronic security, after a woman leaves her home.
“I went into a 10 week DVAC program on how to rebuild your life again after coming out of a violent relationship,” she said.
“That’s what pushed me to return to uni, get my psychology qualification and get my life back on track.”
His father was the head chief.
“If anyone has a problem he will sort it out. I try and live by that legacy,” John said.
“I’m Samoan and I classify myself as indigenous.
“And I’m a proud indigenous and I’m trying to do something for my people. We are all one blood, one colour, I don’t discriminate against anyone.
“If you need a lounge, I’ll give you one whether you are Australian, South African, we all struggle in this world. I stand for my community. Ipswich is my community.
“The whole of Ipswich, not just Collingwood Park, Goodna, Redbank, but the whole of Ipswich.
“My sheds are still full. After the post went up a number of people have donated.
“I don’t want donations. I want to connect people. If someone needs something, write on my Facebook page, S.S. Removals, and if you have something you can donate, get in touch directly,” John said.
Pastor Phil Cutcliffe from Camira Springfield Community Centre said John is a very generous man.
“He always helps when he can. He must have a very patient wife. He gets called away in the middle of the night,” Phil said.
John likes to use the hashtag #Bless1blessall.
“If I’ve blessed one – I’m the one who is blessed. That’s my motto of living on a day to day basis. My wife and I stand strong on that,” John said.
- If you find yourself in a situation where you are in immediate danger call 000.
- If you fear or are anxious around your partner, call DVConnect on 1800 811 811.
- DVConnect Womensline is a state wide telephone service for women who are experiencing domestic or family violence 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They can arrange intervention, transport and emergency accommodation for Queensland women and their children.
- They offer free, professional and non-judgemental telephone support to you, wherever you live in Queensland. *Calls to 1800 811 811 are free from any public phone.
- Pets in Crisis is run by DV Connect. It’s a foster care program to help facilitate safe refuge for animals at risk until they can be reunited with their families. DVConnect counsellors will manage all arrangements; The animals will be fostered or cared for, until it is safe for the animal to return to the owner.
- The Domestic Violence Action Centre (DVAC – formerly known as The Ipswich Women’s Centre Against Domestic Violence) is a not-for-profit organisation located in Ipswich and Toowoomba. Phone: 3816 3000. They provide a variety of services. Check out their website for more information. https://www.dvac.org.au/our-service/
- Mensline 1800 600 636 is a free, confidential telephone, counselling, referral and support service especially set up for men. It is a Queensland wide service that operates between the hours of 9am and midnight, 7 days a week. Mensline Queensland offers professional counselling and information, and acts as a strategic point of referral for Queensland men around issues of: Domestic and family violence, Relationship problems and separation issues, Men’s health, Child support, Family law issues, Suicide and other significant issues for men.
In one of the most recent studies the 2009 Time for Action report, KPMG estimated that violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy $13.6 billion annually and this was expected to rise to $15.6 billion by 2021. In 2013, KPMG announced the annual cost had already reached $14.7 billion.
A woman in Australia is more likely to be killed in her own home by an intimate partner than anywhere else or by anyone else.
DVConnect, in addition and with help from the RSPCA Qld, also assist between 25 and 30 pets to safety each month.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report, Specialist Homelessness Services 2011-12, shows that people experiencing domestic or family violence make up one-third of the almost 230,000 Australians that accessed specialist homelessness services in that period. Of such clients, 78 per cent were female.