Jemma* endured years of physical and mental abuse from her husband, Steve*, before she had the courage to leave. “He would slap me in front of my kids. He would punch me in my back in bed in the middle of the night. He told me that I was worthless, yet the next moment treated me like a princess. I just could not relax. But I thought that this was what life was like. I didn’t want to admit to myself what was happening. But one day he pushed me down the stairs and I hit my head. That’s when I knew he wasn’t going to change.”

With nowhere else to go, Jemma came to our refuge. “I remember when I first came here with the kids. I was a nervous wreck. I was looking over my shoulder to see if he was following me. For the first few weeks I was thinking ‘what have I done?’

“But the workers here, they started to build me up. They helped get my kids into a new school. They spoke with us all about how to keep safe. They helped me to get a new GP. They’ve helped me to look for housing, and helped me to get financial help. All of this would be impossible to do by myself.

“But it’s the difference that it’s made to my kids. They aren’t scared anymore. I know I’ve done the right thing.”

After 12 weeks in our refuge and after receiving therapeutic support to empower her to recover and move on, Jemma is now living in a home of her own and is starting a course at college.

We are asking for your help to support families like Jemma’s.

With a regular donation of just £10 a month, you can be part of our ‘Support a Family’ scheme. ‘Support a Family’ will help us provide our vital – and lifesaving – service for families escaping domestic abuse in Southend. Helping families like Jemma’s to recover and build a new life for themselves following domestic abuse.

You can sign up for our Support a Family Scheme easily via BTMyDonate (insert button). Or you can contact us by email or call 01702 868026 for further information.

*Names have been changed