My Name is Samantha* I have been in refuge now for 6 months with my two children. Before I came here I had a preconceived idea about what refuge was. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was struggling with every aspect of my life and this was having an impact on my children. So, with the support of my IDVA I decided that I needed to get away from my abusive partner to think and make some decisions about our lives. I was extremely anxious about leaving him and our home, but I knew that something needed to change as my children were unhappy and scared that their father would hurt us.
The refuge workers were friendly and approachable and assisted us with clothing, food and toys for the children as we left with nothing. We were helped to claim benefits, apply for the children’s schools, set up new accounts and then to apply for our own home. They were there to listen when I was considering going back to him and provided the opportunity to discuss our experiences so that we could try to understand that we were not to blame for the abuse.
I was really concerned at how the children would adapt to living in a refuge, but I needn’t have worried. The children thrived in refuge and their new schools, they have made new friends and their little personalities are growing. My only regret was that I should have left before. I can’t change the past so with help, I am able to focus on the future. We are making plans and so many positive memories along the way.
When I think back to a time when I was so isolated, I just can’t imagine that woman was me. I don’t recognise that person anymore. I don’t know where I would be without the support. Thank you!
*Samantha’s name has been changed to protect her identity. She has given consent for her story to be used to help others.