I was 14 when I started running away from home. We had moved to Queensland after two years of living in Victoria. My mother had left my father and met a younger man who was travelling around Australia. His family was living here and he convinced my mum to move with him. We had left my father because of his alcoholism but my step father was so much worse. The first few times I left home, I stayed with a friend but her family didn't really like me and she would often run off with boyfriends and leave me by myself in scary places. I met up with an older friend that I had known for a while who was in a similar family situation but he was also homeless so he looked after me. We often slept at train stations and sat and talked all night in phone boxes. I attempted to go home on several occasions but was asked to leave by my step father. We found a little unit but it became a party house and I was determined to stay in school. I turned to alcohol mainly, I was disgusted in myself every time I got drunk but I just did not want to experience the world and be reminded of how bad my life was.
A friend noticed that I was couch surfing and putting myself in danger on the streets and referred me to a homeless service. I felt lost, alone, and they never really believed that I was in a situation of need as my step father worked a good job and my mother was not really aware that he would not let me return home. I eventually moved in with a friend because these services made me feel so unwelcome. One night I came home and the very few things I had, including a formal dress which my father had bought me on a visit 6 months earlier had been trashed by my friend's violent boyfriend.