We lived in the Refuge for 11 months and in that time my children changed so much. They played with toys, made a noise (mostly laughing) and I got to play and know my children.
"I met my husband when I was 14 years old and he was 16 years old. At first the relationship was good, he looked after me - he was very caring and loving. I started to spend all of my time with him and stopped seeing my friends. I moved out of my parents’ home when I was 16 and got a house with my boyfriend. This is when I noticed that my boyfriend started to call me names and put me down."
"Then when I was 17 I became pregnant with our first child. I could not go anywhere without him."
"I went to a family party when I was 8 months pregnant and saw all of my family, I had not seen them for a long time as he always made excuses for us not to go. On the way home from the party my boyfriend turned round and punched me in the face (this was the first time he had hit me but not the last) he said that I made him look like an idiot and left him alone all night."
"I blamed myself and felt sorry for him so I stayed in the relationship. Our daughter was born and when she was 3 months old my boyfriend came in one night in a mood and because she was crying he started to punch and kick me. I ended up in hospital. My family kept my daughter and when I came out of hospital I moved back in with my parents."
"Not long after that my father killed himself and this is where my ex-partner got back in touch saying that I know what it is like not to have a father so I cannot do this to our daughter. We got back together and the abuse continued. I was afraid to leave again."
"As the years went on the abuse increased. It was; physical - to the point where he stabbed me, financial - as he spent all of the money, sexual - as if he did not get sex when he wanted it he would accuse me of sleeping around and say that the children are not his or hit me to get it."
"He came in one day and said that we are getting married in 4 weeks so sort things out, we got married and had another three children."
"I stayed with him for 17 years and lost all of my confidence and self-worth, then one night he came in drunk and hit me again. He went to sleep and I don’t know what happened. I got my 4 children out of bed and put them in the car and drove to some cliffs. This is where I thought about killing myself but lots of things went through my head and I didn’t. We slept on the top of the cliffs and when the children woke up I drove to a Refuge. The found me space in another Refuge and we went. It was very difficult at first as my children missed their father."
"The Refuge staff were great they made us feel safe and comfortable whilst we were there. I had One to One’s session with a Key Worker every week and my children has One to One session with the Children’s Worker weekly. This helped me to get my self-esteem and confidence back and realise that it was not my fault."
"The Refuge staff helped me sort out all of the benefits that I was entitled to, as I used to work and the Child Benefit and Tax Credits were in my husband name and went into his account."
"They helped me find a solicitor, as my ex-husband wanted contact with the children."
"We lived in the Refuge for 11 months and in that time my children changed so much. They played with toys, made a noise (mostly laughing) and I got to play and know my children."
"We moved out of the Refuge and received resettlement from the Refuge which helped us to rebuild our lives without Domestic Abuse."
"We managed to do this with the Refuge staff believing and supporting us when we needed it."