A Christmas Wish Christmas is a time to be with your family, "It’s not about the gifts" they say, "It’s about spending time with those you love". What happens when the one’s who are supposed to love you actually jeopardise your safety? What then? How does that make for a family Christmas? One gift that we feel is really important this Christmas is the gift of safety, love and support. We all need this, it’s something we all deserve. Maybe this is a gift that you need too? One that you have put on your list to Santa for many years but for some reason you have never received. Let me tell you about Sue (names changed for safety reasons!). Sue sought help from Next Chapter long before the Christmas period began. Sue had hit rock bottom and although she had found the courage to leave her marriage, which had been abusive for over 15 years, Sue was lost. Sue had been brave and with the support of close friends around her she had managed to escape the grips of her abuser, but she was still living in fear. The marital home was still in joint names and Sue never knew when her abuser would ‘pop in for a coffee’ or ‘pop past’ to smash a few household items up. Sue was stuck, she couldn’t call on the Police for support as strictly speaking he was damaging his own items and what could they do about that? Also, the fact that he wanted to make a cuppa in his own home. Not a problem they said, seek legal advice they said. Sue was not sure where to turn and struggled to explain her situation to others, she was embarrassed by all that had happened, and this was putting real barriers in front of her. It was suggested to Sue by a friend that she should contact Next Chapter as they understood the dynamics of domestic abuse and may be able to help in some way. Thankfully she did just that! We were able to support Sue practically to find a solicitor who truly understood her situation and was willing to take on her case. Importantly we also supported Sue emotionally, this was much needed to keep the momentum going. Sue had understandably lost her drive and had felt like giving up. Over a period of time Sue was getting where she needed to be and with perseverance the house was sold and funds were separated. Sue was finally able to start her Next Chapter. She was now fully free from abuse and the many calls she had had with us along the way had really improved her mindset and outlook for her future. She was empowered now and ready to start again. Sue’s Domestic Abuse Practitioner was also able to refer her for some counselling towards the end of their work together, a real opportunity to delve deep and aid her recovery from all that she had been through. This year Sue can change her list to Santa, this year Sue is safe and for the first time in a long time she can enjoy that ‘Family Christmas’ without fear. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!