Many women in the Stroud area chose a path away from domestic abuse and its impact on their lives by joining our Outreach programme. Here are some of their experiences:
Shauna had recently separated from her long-term partner having experienced physical, financial and psychological abuse. She was referred to us for support around domestic abuse and how to keep safe.
We offered Shauna practical support, liaising with her housing provider to have additional locks and bolts fitted on her windows and doors, then completed an in-depth safety plan. This considered her work and social life and provided her with tools and apps for additional safety.
We advised Shauna to seek legal support to obtain a non-molestation order as she was continuing to experience harassment and abuse. This was successfully granted by the courts.
Shauna enrolled on our ‘Next Steps’ programme which helped her to process her experience and move on from the abuse. She is now linked in with a counselling service that offers her ongoing support on her road to emotional recovery.
Heidi was referred to our outreach service by children’s social care. She was experiencing ongoing post-separation abuse following a 10-year abusive relationship with her ex-partner.
She spoke to us about how she was struggling with her mental health because of everything she’d experienced, feeling extremely low and anxious and struggling to manage day to day life as a parent to her 6-year-old son, Anton.
She was not receiving any support for her mental health and wasn’t taking any medication to help with her low mood and anxiety.
Heidi told us she was behind on her utility payments, and that she was in debt. She felt like a failure and was living up to what her ex-partner had said: that she could not manage or cope without him.
We supported Heidi by encouraging her speak to her GP who could offer support for her mental health, explaining how this would be of benefit to both her and Anton.
Heidi is now taking regular antidepressants to help with her low mood and anxiety. She took up her GP’s referral for talking therapy to help her process her experience of domestic abuse and understand how it had impacted on her wellbeing, confidence, and self-esteem.
She found that by doing this she was able to understand that her low self-confidence stemmed from her early teens and the difficult relationship she had with her mother and father.
After this, Heidi completed our Next Steps programme, engaging in sessions which she initially thought she would find too difficult such as exploring the impact that her parents’ abusive relationship had had on her as a child. She felt that as well as helping her build her understanding of abuse, she benefited from the peer support during the course.
We recommended that Heidi contact Citizens Advice Bureau to address her debts and clear some of her utility bills, and they continue to support Heidi to this day.
Lena was living with her partner and her 2-year-old son. She called us to ask for support as she was experiencing controlling behaviour from her partner who was forcing her to work long hours to pay for rent and bills.
She saw very little of the money she earnt which went into their joint bank account each month. She had no access to the joint account, and if she needed to buy food or clothes for her daughter, she had to ask her partner for money. Her partner would then demand she return with receipts.
Lena was becoming increasingly fearful of her partner and felt she was no longer able to say no to the constant demands. She wanted to leave, but she didn’t know how.
After a full risk assessment with Lena, we identified that the family home was not safe and was not providing a positive environment for Lena’s daughter. We worked together with other agencies to seek immediate temporary accommodation while we helped to find Lena a refuge which would help to keep her safe.
Irma called to ask about our Next Steps course. She had been living in the local area since leaving her partner of 8 years who had subjected her to years of controlling behaviour. She had left, taking her 2 children aged 7 and 5, and said that she felt isolated and alone.
She described how she felt guilty for staying in the relationship with her ex-partner and how although some of her friends had told her that it was abusive, she stayed as she thought he might change.
At the end of the course Irma said that she now understood what she’d been through. She recognised why she hadn’t left before, saying that the promises of change would lead her to hope that things would be different if she stayed.