"I was having problems with my little boy who was 2 at the time and behaving badly, refusing to go to bed, tantrums etc. After talking to my health visitor about this she told me I needed to contact IDAS for support around domestic abuse. My partner was very controlling about who I saw, where I went, who had access to the money, how I could parent our son, if I could see my Mum and so on but I couldn’t see that at the time and thought everything must be my fault because that is what he told me. I was exhausted."
"I had support from the IDAS Outreach team because I didn’t want to go into a refuge. After I got my support worker things began to change for the better for me. I was initially scared of meeting her but we got on so well from the very first time and I felt safe enough to talk about everything that had happened in my relationship which I had never done before, it was like getting rid of a big weight. We even managed to have a laugh about some of the stuff which helped to keep things in perspective for me as well. I never imagined that we would smile about things I can now see that it was a much kinder way to help me deal with the things I had to face."
"Together we worked on understanding how domestic abuse looked in my relationship and how I could spot the signs for a future relationship as well as how to keep my son and I safe. She helped me to recognise that what was happening was not my fault and that it was abuse and so it didn’t feel like it was just my problem anymore. She supported me around child contact as there were lots of issues there because he kept threatening me about our little boy and she guided me about making sure my son was safe if he did have contact. There were a couple of times when I had to stop the contact for his own safety and she supported me to do this safely which I would have been too scared to do otherwise. I used to text or ring her saying I needed to talk to her and she would ring me back and then we could talk about what I needed at that time as well as my regular appointments, this was so helpful, as I didn’t feel alone anymore. She helped me to see what options I had to choose from and how to go about doing what I wanted to do regarding parenting, keeping safe and understanding what had happened and why. I feel really lucky to have had the support I had when I needed it and I would not hesitate to suggest anyone seek help if they need it as it was the best thing I have done in my life other than having my son."
"After we had one to one support we discussed supporting me in a group setting as I still felt unsure about stopping the support even though I had managed to get him out of the house and sort contact out. I was really reluctant to try a group as I was scared of who would be there and what would happen but she explained that IDAS run groups for women just like me who have been through domestic abuse and she explained just how helpful they can be. Because I trusted her I agreed to go along to the first session with her there to support me – it was a group about parenting children when there is domestic abuse in the past, how to deal with ex-partners who undermine you as a Mum and how to help the children overcome it. It was great as I met some other lovely Mums who had similar problems to mine and it made me realise that I really wasn’t alone. I really enjoyed it and looked forward to each session and after the group ended we set up our own weekly meeting at each other’s houses which was great. The best thing that came out of the group for me was making some new friends who really understood where I was coming from who I could turn to for a chat if I wanted to and to explore different ways I could help my child to deal with the situation. I felt a much better Mum because of this and a happier person now. I wish I had known about IDAS before."