Ashley* was referred to Staying Put though the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC). At just 23 years old, Ashley had been dominated by her husband throughout their relationship and things had started to become violent. Now pregnant with their second child, Ashley decided to leave following her husband’s threats against their 3-year-old daughter.

When we first began working with Ashley, she was very quiet and we could hardly hear her on the phone. She said she wasn’t used to making decisions because her husband organised everything.

We reassured her and praised her continually to help her to build up her confidence, and acknowledged her for all the things that she had achieved.

We offered continued emotional support, and encouragement that she had made the right decision to leave the relationship and that nobody deserved to live like that. Over the course of a few months we spoke with Ashley about recognizing cohesive relationships and Ashley would open up about the incidents that occurred, sometimes very small, often overlooked incidents, that are characteristic of someone who is controlling a situation. This further recognition became part of the acceptance and healing process for Ashley and she began to talk freely and openly about her experiences and her loss.

We supported Ashley to acknowledge that this behaviour is not acceptable and that often people don’t change unless they have professional support, acknowledge what they do is wrong and they want to change. Relationships should be built on love, trust and respect.

We supported Ashley at a telephone conference for the initial Child Protection Case meeting with her social worker, health worker and police. Concerns were raised about past incidents where Ashley had gone back to her husband, and where she had also previously withdrawn statements. We were able to support Ashley by sharing how well she had engaged with Staying Put and that she was now much more confident, planning a life for her and her children and that the reasons for her statement withdrawal was based on fear of what may happen to her family due to threats that her ex had made.

One of Ashley’s main concerns was to find safe accommodation for her, her daughter and unborn baby. We helped her look for suitable areas, close to family, and we helped her negotiate flexible tenancy terms with her current landlord, until she was settled in her new home.

Ashley has successfully secured a new tenancy and is now living in her own flat. She feels safe and can now make her own decisions and choices now and about the future.

Ashley told us she felt there wasn’t enough support for young people in terms of confidence building and support with mental health needs. She felt more could be done in schools throughout all year groups and not just as a one off to promote positive relationships. Positive relationships should be embedded into all aspects of a person’s life.

We listened to her, and Staying Put are working to ensure more support is in place for young people.

With our help, Ashley gained the confidence she needed to be happier, healthier and free from a life of violence.

*All names changed to protect our client.

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