• #ThisChristmasRefugeMeans a new life free from abuse for Paige and her family

Paige* moved into one of Glow’s refuges with her young child this summer after fleeing her home.

Now, over 5 months on, Paige is waiting to get the keys for her new home. Reflecting on her experience over the past year, she told us: “If I hadn’t have come to refuge, I just think the abuse would have got worse. I was probably going to end up dead.

“It makes me feel a bit overwhelmed when I think back on the year if I’m honest. I’m really proud of myself to have taken that step to leave because it’s really tough – you don’t just leave a home, you leave your family, your friends, your whole life.”

Paige and her child left their home after experiencing harassment, threats and damage to property from her ex-partners associates. Her ex was sent to prison a few years ago for domestic abuse, was found guilty of another crime while serving time and hasn’t left since: “He thinks it’s my fault he got caught on the other charge so wants to terrorise me to make sure I don’t live my life because he’s not got his.

“He used to say things to me like “I’ll terrorise you until you kill yourself” and that would be his end result, then he’d have won. I didn’t want to end up as another statistic.”

Since moving to refuge, Paige and her child have been able to start to live again. The team have supported them both to help address and overcome their experiences of domestic abuse, as well as provided practical support such as help with moving schools, support with contacting the police, finding a new home and applying for funding and grants for furniture.

Paige added: “They don’t just make sure you’re ok now, they make sure you’re going to be ok when you leave as well. At the minute they’re looking into getting CCTV installed at the new house, which makes me feel even safer about moving on.

“The kindness of the staff is something else – they feel like a family. When you come through the door it feels like a home from home. I remember the drive here. I was dead anxious, wondering what it was going to be like. But as soon as I got here, I pulled up and the staff greeted me at the door, made me feel really welcome and helped me with my stuff. They also gave my child a backpack with a teddy bear and some activities and nice things thing to do.”

The family have also made the most of lockdown life at refuge, taking part in activities and events, such as pumpkin competitions, fancy dress and decorating ready for Christmas: “The staff are always knocking on with things for us to do in the room – it’s hard at the minute because of the lockdown but they still really make sure that kids have got things to do. It just gives the children a bit of normality.”

For the two of them, 2020 has been a difficult one, but Paige knows it’s worth it: “Even though it’s one of the hardest times of your life it’s going to be one of the best times because you’re going to live abuse free and make it the life you want.”

You can support families like Paige’s find safety, recovery and a future free from abuse by supporting our refuges this Christmas. Find out more about our #ThisChristmasRefugeMeans appeal 

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