Reaching Out *name changed for anonymity. Next Chapter offers support to survivors of domestic abuse all year round, and what better way to end this year by celebrating some of our client’s successes! Annie* referred herself to our service earlier this year for support and advice around leaving a relationship, and most importantly safeguarding herself and her daughter. Reaching out for support was a major milestone for Annie, this was something she had thought about several times before but for many reasons was unable too. On some occasions, the perpetrator would talk her out of ending the relationship by minimising or denying the abuse, and for others Annie doubted whether she had the strength to change her situation. Within the first phone call Annie explained how relieved she felt to be able to finally tell someone what had been going on. Following the initial phone call, Annie was allocated to a Domestic Abuse Practitioner – me! I was able to offer Annie regular support and advice, aiding her to make an informed and safe decision that was best for her, and her little girl. Together, we had many discussions, and I was able to help Annie safely end the relationship and gain the freedom she had wished so long for. From this point, I signposted Annie to seek legal advice and supported her to take the steps to become financially independent. This gave Annie a boost of confidence, and no longer did she feel dependant on the perpetrator. For the first time in a long time, Annie felt comfortable in her own home.I supported Annie to understand the dynamics of abuse and together we explored the impact of the emotional, financial, and physical abuse she had experienced. I am thankful that Annie shared her stories with me, and over the weeks I watched her self-confidence and resilience build. As a result of this, Annie recognised herself as a survivor and opened up to her family by sharing her experiences and newfound knowledge of domestic abuse. Annie was no longer afraid to talk about what had happened, and immediately her network of support broadened, finding comfort with those closest to her. In the new year, Annie is going to begin counselling to continue her recovery and I am beyond proud to have been a part of her journey. For me, the biggest aspect was empowering Annie to recognise her inner strength, something she always had – just sometimes we need to be reminded of it! For Annie, it was knowing somebody was there for her on the end of the phone and recognising that she was not alone. Please know, no matter how many times you think about reaching out, when you are ready, we will be here for you. From myself, and everyone at Next Chapter I would like to wish you a lovely and safe Christmas, Amy.