My name is Leanne, and I am 45 years old woman who has had a very successful professional career. I married my second husband Dave after an eight month romance, where he swept me off my feet. The marriage was wonderful in the early days, very physical but he resented my career and started to abuse me emotionally. This began with correcting my use of language, making derogatory comments about me, then pretending he was joking. He began phoning and texting me constantly, checking the mileage on my car, demanding that I prove I were where I said I would be. He also started to hide objects in the house pretending that he hadn’t. Slowly I began losing my self confidence and as the abuse continued, I developed mental health problems. I started to self harm, eventually being sectioned to a psychiatric ward at one point. I felt so low and trapped that I attempted suicide.
I knew she had to get help when Dave, who had been drinking, slammed me against the sofa and I fell on the floor. I called the police who attended and arrested Dave. The police encouraged me to contact Next Link. Next Link helped me make my house safe through a referral to the Safer Homes scheme and by arranging for an Information Marker to be placed on the property.
They helped me apply for housing and was then able to move into a new home. They even helped me with acquiring furniture for my new place.
I am now so much happier. I do some voluntary work and can look forward to the future. The support I received from Next Link and the Police saved my life.
Who are Next Link?
Next Link are a local charity who work closely with a variety of partners to provide support to victims of domestic abuse. They help victims who wish to stay at home where it is safe enough to do so by arranging for information markers to be placed on properties by the Police and by applying for a range of civil remedies including non-molestation and occupancy orders.
Where it is not safe for a victim and their family to remain in their home, they help find alternative safe temporary accommodation and work closely with Bristol City Council’s Housing Department to secure permanent accommodation. They work closely with the Police, Criminal and Civil Justice systems and a range of health workers including GPs, health visitors, and Community Psychiatric Nurses.
Their services include a crisis response service working with victims same day in response to incidents to make them safe, a safe-house service with 7 safehouses across the city and a resettlement and tenancy support service offering support to victims living in the community. They also have our Northern ARC service supporting victims in Lawrence Weston, Southmead, Henbury, and their Southern ARC service supporting victims in Knowle West, Withywood, Hartcliffe and Bishopsworth.
They have dedicated BME support workers offering bilingual support for South Asian, Somalia and Polish victims of domestic abuse and Forced Marriage. They have dedicated Children’s safehouse and resettlement services supporting children and young people who have been living in families experiencing domestic abuse.
In 2013-14 they supported over 2393 families who were victims of domestic abuse and rape and sexual assault.
To find out more check out the Bristol Against Violence and Abuse website http://www.bava.org.uk/
Photo: Sophie Merlo
Models: Michelle Lee, Tanner Lee and Horace Silver