Sandra (not her real name) was an older woman referred to Stonewater’s Freedom Programme by a local Council and had experienced abuse throughout her 40-year marriage.
“I arrived at the Stonewater refuge with no belongings other than my handbag. I felt very timid and distraught. Staff at the refuge welcomed me with toiletries and clothing, along with food vouchers to give me some of the basics that I needed initially.
"While I stayed at the refuge, I attended all the Freedom groups and Stonewater’s specialist staff gave me individual domestic violence support and self-esteem work in one-to-one sessions which made me feel more confident.
"Staff at the refuge also helped me with my next steps – supporting me in contacting their housing team to find somewhere I could live longer-term, along with legal issues such as my divorce. I eventually divorced my husband and was also allocated a property to move on to.
"My time at the refuge and completing the Freedom Programme really helped build my self-esteem and confidence, enabling me to move on with my life.”