Escaping the family home
RS is trans and experienced domestic abuse from her brother and father.
"I came to Stonewater’s Safe Space having experienced significant domestic abuse in my family home. The Safe Space is a dedicated refuge for members of the LGBTQ+ community, providing short-term accommodation and access to housing for the longer-term. For people like me, who need to escape from a violent home, the Safe Space is more than somewhere safe to stay, it also offers specialist domestic abuse support and access to vital services to help us take our next steps.
My brother had been violent towards me on multiple occasions in the past while we both lived in our father’s house. I fled when I could hear my brother and father haggle over the price my father would pay my brother to kill me. I heard my father say to my brother: “I’m sick of always listening to your empty threats, if you’re going to kill it, then do it. How much would it take? £1,000? More?”.
I was referred to Safe Space by the LGBTQ+ anti-violence charity Galop, and it was crucial in helping me change my life. As well as giving me somewhere to stay, away from the threats and violence at home, my Safe Space coach helped me to develop a support plan, identifying my goals and how I could achieve them with my coach’s support.
Through guidance work with my coach, I felt able to address some of the trauma I had experienced at my family home. My coach helped me access counselling through my GP, so I could begin to explore this to help me move forward.
During my time at Safe Space, I was keen to take part in as many groups as I could, and the team members have supported me in taking part in many of the activities they have facilitated, including a trans support group and an event for International Women’s Day.
I found that there was a lack of direct support for older LGBTQ+ members in the local area, so I worked with a Safe Space team member to create an LGBTQ+ support group for over 18s. To enable my research and work for this group, Safe Space supported me in getting a laptop through a charitable grant from Stonewater’s Longleigh Foundation.
As part of my support plan, I had identified that I really wanted to live on my own independently, having only ever lived in my family home. Over the next six months, my coach supported me around developing independent living skills. With the support of my Safe Space coach, I have now moved on, put down some roots and started afresh.
Coming to the refuge gave me the space and clarity I needed. When I left, I felt strong enough to make the transition into living on my own. I am now living in my own flat near to friends and support networks. Safe Space was even able to apply for a grant through Longleigh to get me enough furniture to turn my new house into a home.”