Helen and her three children were referred to refuge by her outreach worker.  Helen was extremely quiet when she arrived at refuge. She struggled with feeling comfortable in the communal environment.

Helen and the children were given time to settle in to the refuge. Their needs were then assessed and a support plan drawn up with a family worker. She was supported with all her practical needs: applying for income support, child tax credits and child benefit, registering with the GP, enrolling her son in school and her daughter in nursery. Helen was accompanied to meetings with social services and supported in all her dealings with her social worker, solicitor and other agencies.

During her time in refuge, Helen had the opportunity to talk regularly on a one to one basis. She was supported emotionally and gradually opened up more and more about her experience of domestic violence. After three months she decided to move into a private rental. She was supported to apply for a Community Care Grant and was successful in her application.

Once Helen moved out of refuge she continued to receive support through aftercare. Her needs were assessed once again and various supports were put in place to help her in the transition to independent living. A referral was made to Homestart for added support with the children.

Helen’s son completed the Helping Hands programme on a one to one basis with a child worker. He also completed a 6 week programme Talking to Mum facilitated by another child worker. These programmes gave him the opportunity to express himself and strengthen his relationship with his mum.

Helen attended the aftercare group on a weekly basis for emotional support.  After 6 months she started the Journey to Freedom programme which she attended on a weekly basis. Helen found it difficult at the beginning to contribute but gained in confidence as the weeks progressed. She was supported by the other women in the group to share her experiences.

Helen has been receiving support through aftercare for 11 months and continues to attend the group on a weekly basis. She has taken control of her life and is now confident in her ability to survive without her partner. Helen has now moved into a permanent tenancy allocated by the Housing Executive. Herself and her children are thoroughly enjoying their new home.