THE HELP AND SUPPORT TO TURN LIVES AROUND
Megan was advised by police, social services and Women’s Aid to get as far away as possible from a dangerous perpetrator that had been stalking her and her eldest child, abusing her and damaging their property for over 18 months.
She said: “I felt bruised inside and out as I sat with my two young boys waiting for a train to freedom. We travelled with just the clothes we had on, we had no food or any of our personal belongings – apart from the boys much loved teddy bears that they were clutching.
As we headed towards the women’s refuge in Bournemouth I felt nervous of the unknown. To say it was a daunting experience is an understatement. My eldest who was seven years old at the time had a lot of questions for me, which I didn’t really have answers for. I answered him as honestly and as calmly as I could, but inside I was crying and wondering if I was doing the right thing – moving them away from everything and everyone they knew.”
The family arrived to a warm welcome from the staff at the refuge. They were all friendly, caring, and understanding of Megan’s needs and situation.
Megan commented: “Our key worker was just amazing – she helped me apply for benefits, school places, and hospital appointments. She also got me as much information as she could on Bournemouth and surrounding areas so we could find somewhere suitable to live. Nothing was too much trouble for her.
It was a very tough time for us, but the help from the staff at the refuge made getting through it much easier. They were all very helpful and understanding of our situation. And once I had found somewhere to move, BCHA put me on the rent deposit scheme.”
Moving on from the refuge came with happiness for Megan but also apprehension of the unknown and a feeling of loneliness. But, she need not have worried as she was given an outreach worker for support and to help them move forwards with their lives.
She added: “We have lived in Christchurch for over 14 years now, and we love it here. I now volunteer at the refuge to give something back for all the support that we received. I also co-facilitate the pattern changing courses alongside our original key worker. To be able to give back is the best feeling in the world”
In another case, Sarah had left her 12-year relationship because of increasing emotional abuse and she thought the worst was over. Instead, she was subjected to more disturbing actions including incessant messages and phone calls, unannounced visits to her house, and threatening behaviour in front of her daughters.
When the police finally intervened, Sarah had a long journey ahead of her to start rebuilding her family’s lives, but BCHA were on-hand to help them every step of the way.
Sarah said: “When my BCHA Outreach Officer came in she just helped us to understand it all, process it all. She went into my daughters’ schools, guiding them emotionally – their emotions were all over the place – and helping them to come to terms with how their lives had changed.
She went through the journey with us – helping my daughters to help me. I don’t know where me and the girls would be without the support from BCHA.”