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Surviving Domestic Abuse – Sarah’s story

by Guy Murphy

Did you know that there are specialist teams within Knowsley who work with victims and survivors of domestic abuse to keep them safe from harm and move on with their lives?

Knowsley’s specialist teams worked with people who have many difference experiences of domestic abuse. And whilst there are some common behaviours and ‘signs’ of domestic abuse, each case is different and requires a bespoke response each time.

As part of the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence, we’re sharing anonymous stories from people who have been supported by our teams. The case studies show the impact of domestic abuse and the bravery of the victim/survivors they work with.

Sarah’s story

Sarah had been living in a domestic abuse relationship for a number of years and it was through referral to the service following concerns being raised by a number of different agencies that she was able to get the support that she needed.

Sarah’s partner exerted a high level of control over her through a combination of physical, mental and financial abuse. This also had a huge impact on their child, who suffered from a number of SEN conditions.

During meeting with Knowsley Council’s specialist domestic abuse team, Sarah was able to disclose the extent of the domestic abuse and that she required support in leaving the relationship. A case worker was assigned to Sarah to develop a plan of action.

The team worked closely with Housing Solutions to overcome obstacles to accessing social housing. However, before Sarah was able to find a property, an emergency situation meant the team were required to find temporary accommodation for Sarah and her child to move into.

Now that Sarah was in safe accommodation, the team worked on future plans and offered Sarah support with post separation abuse. Often victims of domestic abuse can have feelings of guilt and this can lead them to keeping in touch with their ex-partner.

Part of the Specialist Domestic Abuse teams work is to give victims of domestic abuse the tools to practically and emotionally to continue to reduce harm to their family. Sarah was provided with personalised sessions that looked at various control strategies that are often used in these situations and how she could spot them.

To reduce the risk of continued financial abuse, the team supported Sarah with an application for child maintenance arrangement, accessing universal credit and applying for housing benefit. The team have also enlisted legal support to enable Sarah to separate her finances from her ex-partner.

Sarah and her child are now well underway with the next chapter of their lives and there is continued support from the service. They have also been introduced to other groups and agencies that are supporting them as they build their new lives.

Where can I turn for help?

If you, your child, or anyone in the family are at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police urgently, call 999. If you are not at immediate risk but are concerned, please contact one of the services listed below:

Knowsley Council Safer Communities Service (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)
Tel: 0151 443 2610

Enquiries.safercommunities@knowsley.gov.uk

Knowsley Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

Tel: 0151 443 2600

The First Step (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)

Tel: 0151 548 3333

Website: www.thefirststep.org.uk

Savera UK

Helpline 0800 107 0726

www.saverauk.co.uk

Worst Kept Secret Helpline: 0800 028 3398

Refuge (includes information for men) 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)
The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 999 5428
Samaritans (24/7 service) 116 123