Joanne’s Story

Joanne and her children left their home and moved to a Look Ahead service after experiencing domestic abuse. Joanne shares her experiences at the service.

I moved to a Look Ahead service with my three children after it was longer safe for us to live at home. My partner was often physically and verbally abusive to us. I had covered for him so many times hoping he would change, but that change never came.

My children and I eventually left home after an incident where my partner pushed me over and I fell on my back. I have had mobility issues since I was young and in this instance I had no choice but to phone an ambulance. As a result of this I was put in touch with social services who advised it was no longer safe for me to stay with him and I needed to protect my children.

Social services helped us find a selection of placements for us and Look Ahead suited us best with my children and mobility issues. I was worried about moving in to the service, but was pleasantly surprised to find out our room had plenty of space for all of us.

 

“I want to help others identify abuse and let them know they can overcome it. Human beings need to be respected, and know where they stand in a relationship, not live in fear”

We stayed with the service for nine months. During this time, staff were incredibly supportive of us. We had workshops on domestic violence, workshops with other parents and meditation and resilience training.

My eldest child developed challenging behaviours whilst living at the service and was threating to self-harm. He had kept his feelings bottled up whilst experiencing the abuse at home, and it all started to come out. The entire staff team at the service went above and beyond to give him the support we needed, which Iā€™m so grateful for.

Throughout every level of the support we received we felt comfortable. The service felt like our home. Even though the support workers were paid professionals, we saw them as our family. The staff even helped me write letters to the council to help me find a new place. We now live in a three bedroom house outside of London.

Thanks to the outstanding support I received, I have more confidence and am able to believe in myself. I now want to use my experience to help others and I am working to become a counsellor. I have been inspired by those who did everything they could to support me. I want to help others identify abuse and let them know they can overcome it. Human beings need to be respected, and know where they stand in a relationship, not live in fear.

I hope one day I can return to Look Ahead and share my experiences with other customers, and help them towards a brighter future.