Cup of coffee and dignity for survivors: It’s never too late to break free


PROVIDING a haven for domestic violence survivors became a life mission for Kathryn Kaur, having spent 17 long years enduring the torment of domestic violence herself.

The emotional and physical scars of those long years notwithstanding, she decided to hold out hope for people trapped in abusive relationships and help them survive with dignity.

Thus, started Rights Respect Independence Connect (RRIC), a multicultural connection hub started in 2018 in Parramatta that aimed to connect people across the length and breadth of the country. The movement took off with 40 volunteers who wanted to make a difference. Today, they have multiple centres in Sydney alone.

What was born of the interest was coffee club, an initiative under RRIC, which looked at providing a safe space for survivors to meet up regularly and connect with others also facing similar predicaments.

This platform itself was the answer that people coping with domestic violence and mental health struggle could find solace in. As on date, they have helped over 300 survivors find dignity in their lives.

“Our agenda was clear – to provide care and support. We sought to address the practical needs of survivors, from helping them find accommodation and jobs to providing clothing and more. Most importantly, we aim to break the cycle of abuse that so often entraps families, ensuring that children do not bear the emotional scars of their parents’ torment,” says Kathryn.
RRIC’s motto has been to help survivors not only live, but live with dignity, a life where children could find peace, safety and a brighter future. Kathryn through her life showed others that it is never too late to break free from an abusive relationship.

“We hope to give survivors the tools and resources they need to rebuild their lives, to heal and to build brighter futures,” says Kathryn.

Kathryn’s story

It was in 2018 that Kathryn finally found the courage to escape her personal ordeal. With no job experience, no savings and no hope, she had no one to talk to.

“I struggled to find a safe place to live, secure a job or even save money to support myself. Add to that the daunting task of making my family understand the gravity of my situation and the reasons behind my decision to break free,” she says.

For someone who was forced to live in her car, while looking for a place to call home, Kathryn then realized the importance of knowing her rights, having access to counselling and support, and a shoulder to lean on when the going gets tough.

“Unfortunately, it’s a harsh reality that in our society, finding help can be challenging, as that means no support system to rely on,” says Kathryn. That is why finding RRIC proved so meaningful to her. Dedicated to helping women and children who have experienced violence in some form or the other, empathy is the key in their dealing with survivors.

“I want them to know they are not alone in their pain, their lives can change for the better, provided they are ready to take the difficult step of leaving their abusers and seeking safety,” says Kathryn.

Till date, RRIC has hosted many fundraising and social inclusion activities to promote empowerment. It has facilitated employment opportunities for women, particularly Aboriginal women and children. It helps to connect and link in with resources, provides free consultation and legal services and helps to develop skills. It is currently partnering with companies and professional services to be of most help to the survivors.

Coffee Club locations are at Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.  Visit:



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