16 December 2018
Jackie Clark was named supreme winner at the 2018 Women of Influence Awards, honouring her work with The Aunties, a fast-rising, face-to-face charity and support service for women affected by domestic violence. The award acknowledges Jackie’s emergence as an unconventional outreach worker with unique charismatic power and a mission to “meet needs with love”.
Realising Jackie’s dream – the Aunties model – lit a spark, and five years on it is catching fire, attracting high profile support and a growing donor community, and inspiring similar networks in Christchurch and Wellington.
Clark regularly visits the homes of women in crisis where they tell her about their lives, on their terms.
Day to day, Clark as Chief Auntie will air a request on behalf of a woman in need. A network of aunties donate what’s required and Jackie brokers that transaction. They might be referred by a family support worker or by word of mouth. They might reach out to her on social media, because she’s always online.
Most have left a violent home. Some have ex-partners in prison. Many are living in unrelenting poverty. They might request groceries, which Clark will buy for them online. They might need clothes, or a second-hand fridge, perhaps collected by Clark from a donor’s doorstep and kept at The Aunties’ storage unit. This is what sets The Aunties apart. The Aunties don’t stop at providing goods or supporting her girls in formal environments, as other agencies might. She doesn’t simply offer respect to women whose abusers have made them feel worthless; she offers to love them like family as well.