Contacted by 65 year old lady whose husband had died 3 years previously, She had experienced 28 years of domestic abuse from her husband and had more recently given up her Council tenancy to move in with her son and her granddaughter.

Her husband, the perpetrator, used to pull her down the stairs by her hair and she has lumps and bumps on her head from her previous injuries.  In her life she had lost a baby from cot death and her Dad had died in an accident.  Whilst at boarding school she had been locked up and described herself as having “bad nerves”.  We received a referral from Health in Mind who requested that we make contact with her.  Our outreach service made contact and arranged to visit her.

During the community visit, she disclosed that she had been in contact with Health in Mind and that they had suggested she contacted us to help her deal with her historic DV that was still affecting her mental wellbeing.

She shared with us that her deceased husband used to severely abuse her and even though she moved in with her son and seven year old granddaughter, she did not have a bedroom and was sleeping on the sofa and he now wished her to move out.

She was concerned that she didn’t feel confident to live on her own and felt that her nerves were too bad for her to cope on her own.  She also shared that she had a friend who used to financially abuse her – continually asking for money and presents – but they had now fallen out.

The situation came to crisis point when the Police attended the property due to an argument between her and her son over money and his attempt to financially abuse and control her.  The Police intervened, removed her from the property and brought her directly to the Refuge due to the community support we were providing.  We completed the necessary referral and DASH risk assessment which supported her move into refuge accommodation.

During her time in refuge accommodation it became clear that the years of abuse at the hands of her husband, which continued with her friend and then her son had caused deep-rooted mental health issues.  She no longer knew how to act appropriately in social situations and had numerous incidents where she behaved inappropriately with other service users and their children.  Our support involved referrals to adult social care, health in mind, housing and our counselling service.  Our Refuge Support Worker spent much time working with her to help her understand how the abuse she had experienced was affecting her behaviour and worked with her to help her recognise how to adjust her behaviour and take a health approach to forming new relationships and friendships.

She was successful with her homelessness application and was put forward for sheltered accommodation.  Her Refuge Support Worker assisted her with bidding on appropriate properties on a weekly basis.

As a result of the support, she was allocated a 1 bedroom flat in a sheltered complex and she has remained in contact with some of the residents who were also in the refuge at the same time, building herself a support network. 


Her time in Refuge and the support provided helped improve her mental health and resilience and provided her with an understanding of non-abusive relationships to enable her to live a successful independent life, no longer needing our support.