Anna’s story | Domestic abuse

As part of the 16 days of action against domestic abuse campaign, our customer Anna shares her story about domestic abuse. You can watch the video or also read Anna’s story below.

*Please note the customer has been anonymised for the purpose of sharing this story and it could potentially be distressing for viewers to watch.

What was your relationship like before abuse started?

I had been with my husband for 22 years and there was never any sign that he would become abusive towards me.

We had 6 children together and we had a normal happy relationship. He was a good dad and my best friend. We enjoyed lovely holidays together and were a normal family. I think because of this it made things much harder to accept.

When did abuse begin?

The abuse began three years ago after my husband suffered a mental breakdown and the breakdown led to him taking drugs. He would be abusive when he needed drugs. He would threaten and hurt me until I gave him money to buy them. He was often under the influence of drugs and so the abuse continued.

We had been together 19 years before the abuse commenced. I tried to deny there was an issue and tried to hide any evidence of abuse. I tried to hide it mostly from my children. My oldest children were very aware, but my youngest children had no idea and to them their dad was still their perfect role model.

How could I tell them what their dad does to their mum. So I continued to pretend every day that everything was okay when it was not. On many occasion police were called and when support was offered, I initially turned it down as I did not feel strong enough to go through the process.

At the time I did not want people to know what was happening and that our perfect relationship had come to an end. I was also suffering low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.

When did you realise you needed help and support?

I realised I needed help and support when one of my eldest daughters sat me down and said:  “Mum you don’t have to lie anymore, we know what’s going on.”

It was at this point I realised I was setting a poor example to my children, I realised that I was setting an example to my children that it’s okay for another person to hurt you and abuse you. I decided I would try to end the relationship. I began to report incidents to the police and began to accept the help that was being offered. The police made referrals to domestic violence services.

What help and support did you accept?

I worked with my allocated domestic abuse worker. She helped me to apply for a non-molestation order – this only took only a few days to put in place but once it was in place I felt much safer knowing that he was less likely to come after me.

I also worked with a specialist team who helped me and the children with safety planning, they taught us ways to keep ourselves safe inside and outside of our home. This was a one to one service, and they discussed internet safety with my children, and they discussed personal safety. They helped me identify behaviours and signs that were controlling and abusive. I also worked with social care to ensure that my children’s needs were being met during this difficult time. They worked with the school and made sure the children’s emotional needs were met.

I also worked with the Safer Neighbourhoods team at Onward Homes who offered target hardening. This included adding additional security measures to my home to make me feel safer, and they also supported me with an emergency housing move application.

I am looking forward to an offer of a new home soon. I am really looking forward to living somewhere I feel safe and free from abuse. I really look forward to a brighter safer future with my children and thank you so much to all the support I have received.

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse at your home report the problem as soon as possible.

  • If you, or anyone you know is in immediate danger call 999
  • It it’s a non-emergency you can contact the police on 101
  • You can get further access and support by contacting us on 0300 555 0600.