‘No woman should suffer in silence’ says a domestic violence survivor who relocated to another part of the country to feel safer.
A 26-year old who grew up in London now feels that there is nothing left for her there anymore. The young woman who suffered 2 years of domestic abuse says: ‘When experiencing domestic abuse, you are controlled in a number of ways. It got to the point that I couldn’t even cope at work anymore and so, I had to gave up my job.’
In November 2016, she says, she ended the abusive relationship and went to her council seeking help. She was placed in women’s refuge where she benefited from the safety and security of living in the refuge but realised that with the crisis in housing she needed to look at alternative housing options in order to move on quickly.
Some of the residents that were in the same refuge had lived there for a considerable amount of time due to their particular circumstances, explains the domestic violence survivor. She soon realised that the turnaround is very slow due to the chronic shortage of social housing available in London. As an immediate fix, she was advised by her council to look for a property in the borough’s private rented sector.
She says: ‘Considering my circumstances I thought moving further afield to an affordable area will not only make me feel safer but will also help me be more financially stable.’ At the same time, she felt that if she were to stay in London, she would always have that worry at the back of her mind.
She started looking for affordable housing, however soon encountered another hurdle. She says: ‘Given everything that I’ve gone through, I was in no position mentally to fill out the large amount of paperwork needed to apply for social housing. However, when I registered with Homefinder UK, a not for profit national mobility scheme, they assigned me my own Case Manager. I received help with the property search process as well as all the necessary applications. It made me realise that this is the right thing for me to do.’
Homefinder UK’s Case worker says: ‘Through the scheme she found a permanent place to call ‘home’ within a space of two months. She is now in a stable environment, far away from her abuser, able to start looking for work. There is a lot of support available to domestic violence survivors in relation to relocating, however it’s not just a case of us helping to find a house and then they have to help themselves. We provide support over the phone whenever necessary as well as advice about the new area.’