Emma moved from England to Northern Ireland to escape the violence and abuse she had suffered for many years from her husband. She felt frightened and alone. Emma then picked up the courage to phone the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline who put her in touch with the Women’s Aid floating support service in her area. Emma’s life changed through the support she received.

She put her story down on paper…

My Journey to Freedom started the first time I picked up the phone and rang Women’s Aid. Every day we all see the leaflets in doctors, hospitals etc, but do we ever take any notice of them? I have always been a private person but there comes a time in your life when you have to put that aside.

I thought no one could help me, you know that feeling? You’re all alone and no one to talk to? I was desperate and vulnerable. I was in a black hole. I knew after the first meeting with Women’s Aid that I wasn’t alone. They were so easy to talk to which was great for me because I was from England and didn’t really know anyone. I had so much going on in my life, health problems, finance problems and going through an abusive marriage.

Women’s Aid put me in touch with a family law solicitor in England who sorted my court dealings. They also put me in touch with Women’s Aid in England who came and gave me support at court.

My floating support worker then started on my finances. She put me in touch with the Housing Executive who sorted out my rent. Because of my depression and health issues I had a big problem leaving the house. My floating support worker helped me to sort out disability living allowance and she accompanied me and gave me great support. I couldn’t have done all this by myself.

Between all this going on, I was getting weekly one to one visits which took the pressure off me. My floating support worker helped me to cope better with my depression which gave me the strength to leave the house, she supported me through it all. When I look back at the person I was I see someone empty and scared but I look at myself now and I have the confidence to go outside. I’m a lot stronger and I feel ready to get back to work. I got through those dark days with the help of Women’s Aid, to me they were always by my side.

I am no longer in that dark hole, there is a bright light shining down on me.