“She was amazing. You know, she held me so safe at a time when we felt so vulnerable and unsafe. You can’t put that in a job description.”
Katie’s* story highlights the traumatic impact of an abusive relationship and how the compassionate and consistent support she received gave her family hope.
A year after moving to Epsom, Katie was working locally and loved her job, but needed help from the food bank due to mounting debts caused in part by her partner’s financial manipulation. As the abuse she and her family were suffering increased, she had to flee their home with her teenage children and was moved out of borough into temporary accommodation. Katie describes feeling pulled and pushed between different services and agencies as she tried in vain to keep her job whilst also ferrying her children back and forth from home to school. Recollecting how it felt, she says: “All those plates you spin, they were dropping all around me …. , my whole world just collapsed…. everything, I wasn’t really thinking straight.”
Katie’s support worker, Alison, was there to help her navigate a way through the complexity of her situation.: “She was amazing. You know, she held me so safe at a time when we felt so vulnerable and unsafe. You can’t put that in a job description.”
As well as going with Katie to every meeting with the social workers, Alison put her in touch with CAP who are helping her manage her debts, provided benefit advice, supported Katie with housing applications, advocated for her and was a constant support for the family through lengthy and stressful court proceedings.
Katie says the difference this made was immense has helped her to feel valued as a person. She still has many challenges to overcome but she says: “I’ve had everything and more. No words can really articulate the gratitude and that’s, that’s from my kids as well.”
Katie’s hope for her family is this: “I’d like to see us back in Epsom, somewhere we can call home – that we can get a little bit attached to and emotionally involved in and paint and do the garden and have a dog, that would be nice. Just for the children to be happy, and me to get work and find myself again.”
*Name changed to protect identity