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Escaping an abusive relationship, Natasha now has a voice

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Mum of three, Natasha, 36, describes her life last year as a 'dark place' - "I felt there was no point to anything, my whole world came crashing down."

Natasha's boyfriend of nine years was a prolific offender and a heroin addict, demanding more and more money from Natasha as his drug habit grew.

Despite having a good job, Natasha got into debt as her boyfriend's first priority was drugs. One day, in a rage over money, he hit her so badly marking her face and neck that she was too embarrassed to go into work. She never returned. Following the incident, Natasha suffered anxiety and panic attacks. "My job involved helping children with emotional problems so I had to be in the right place myself to be able to deal with that but I couldn't give any more. I couldn't cope."

"Everything became overwhelming and though I'd stuck with my boyfriend all that time, I finally realised that I couldn't live like that any longer. To top everything off I then found out he was having an affair with my twin sister. I had no job and three children to take care of. My life was a mess.

"That was when I got in touch with Bromford after hearing about them through my library. They encouraged me to go to the social services meetings I needed to and showed me how to start to take more control of my life. My support worker would always text to remind me of dates of important meetings and would either prompt me to ask questions or would ask on my behalf. She would encourage me to go when I really didn't feel like it - I needed that push but it was done at a pace I was comfortable with.

"Bromford also helped me out with food parcels whilst I was paying off debts on rent arrears - at one stage it looked like I was going to be evicted. They also helped sort my water bill and TV licence and I learnt to prioritise bills.

"I gradually started to feel better about myself and now my life is 100% better.

Before I wouldn't get up at all or I would feel blue when I got up. I am now going to college, and it's great to be doing something for me after all that's happened.

I'm looking for a job and hoping college will be a stepping stone to give me the confidence to get back into work.

Susan - Natasha's support worker

"A lot of our support focussed on letting Natasha know she has a voice and options and can ask questions.

She has now got some confidence back and is eager to change things and give herself and her children the best chance in life. If we suggest something, she's now raring to take it on!

At first, her attitude was that everything was going to go wrong and she was nervous about what would happen but she has grown ever since and now we don't need to see her so often.

Natasha is back in control of her life."

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