When Nikita first contact us she had just turned 19. She had moved to England from Eastern Europe with her partner and child but had recently become homeless after fleeing violence from her partner. She was living in a hostel with her child and was struggling to cope. As a vulnerable young woman she found it difficult to withhold contact with the violent partner who had a large and intimidating family and, as a result of this, her child had been taken into foster care. English was not Nikita’s first language and she struggled with understanding safeguarding and legal procedures. She was terrified of losing contact with her child as he was being considered for an adoption placement.
One of the workers at Nikita’s hostel contacted us to see if we could support her. When we first visited her she would not come out of her flat, she was traumatised, vulnerable and found it very difficult to trust anyone.
Nikita was allocated an Outreach Support Worker who was slowly able to build up trust. The support worker made regular visits and was able to offer emotional and practical support as well as help to her understand legal and safeguarding procedures. After a few weeks her Outreach Worker identified that Nikita did not fully understand the nature of the domestic abuse she had experienced. She introduced Nikita to the Freedom Programme, a specialist domestic violence awareness programme for women. They worked through the course booklet together and gradually she began to acknowledge what had happened to her as abuse and impact it had had on both her and her child.
The outreach worker was also able to provide a report to her solicitor about her progress with this which helped her to maintain contact with her child. The outreach worker also supported her to attend court and was able to offer her some safety and protection when the child’s father was behaving in a manipulative and intimidating manner towards her.
Nikita was supported to rebuild her life and eventually found the courage to break contact with the ex-partner. She is currently working towards her child returning home to live with her and is hoping to be re-housed soon into more permanent accommodation. She has also enrolled at college on an NVQ in hairdressing and wants to get a good job and support her child.