“It started with money and I didn’t realise it at the time but control was insidious… a drip, drip, drip of constant checking, questioning and criticism across many years that simply wore me down. There were arguments… a lot of them. Then it moved on to violence – threatening behaviour to me and our children. He was in complete control of every aspect of my life and I could do very little about it. I was terrified.”
Andrea* could take no more and asked to end the marriage. However, her husband refused, which is a common way for the perpetrator to keep abusing the victim, long after the relationship has ended. She needed help and in desperation turned to her local Domestic Abuse Service for support.
How we helped Andrea
By talking to one of our team, Andrea received skilled practical assistance, ongoing emotional support, information and advice. Our support is by phone, face-to-face at a safe venue, or by email. We gain a comprehensive understanding of the victim’s situation and build up trust through dialogue and listening. This is followed by regular checkpoint meetings. Andrea also attended the Freedom Programme. This is a course for survivors of domestic abuse that helps individuals make sense of what has happened to them. The programme explores the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of the perpetrator and the responses of survivors. We also supported Andrea with legal and financial issues.
Andrea was able to make a fresh start. However, for many survivors it’s often a bumpy journey. The abuser may attempt to reassert control, often months or even years later, especially where money is concerned. Accepting that domestic abuse is rarely time-limited, we recognise that survivors need practical and emotional support across a long period of time as they take the path to survival.
Andrea has been able to turn her life around. She knows that it’s a long journey and she is reassured that the team at South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service is here to provide a life-line.
“The team at South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Service has been so supportive in helping me to understand the nature of the abuse and to take the right steps to build a new life.… Thank you.”
*Name anonymised to protect client’s confidentiality
To contact South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service: