Abuse sur­vivor says aid group saved her

Mum of five given sup­port by Women’s Aid when she fled her home

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - EMMA CRICH­TON ecrich­[email protected]­courier.co.uk

A do­mes­tic abuse sur­vivor has spo­ken out about her trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ences and cred­ited Perthshire Women’s Aid with sav­ing her life.

The mum of five was forced to flee to Perth from else­where in Scot­land, to es­cape her vi­o­lent ex-part­ner af­ter a nine-year re­la­tion­ship.

Claire (not her real name) had left her abuser five years be­fore and was ex­pect­ing a baby with a new part­ner when her ex at­tacked her, killing her un­born child.

It was the third mis­car­riage at the hands of her abuser and Claire con­tacted Perthshire Women’s Aid, who quickly ar­ranged emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion for her and her chil­dren.

“I have lost three ba­bies to do­mes­tic abuse, the last one was when I was six weeks’ preg­nant,” she said.

“That’s when I came to Women’s Aid, it de­stroyed me that he was still able to cause dev­as­ta­tion like that five years af­ter we split up.

“I got off the train with only what we could carry and they looked af­ter me from then on, it was amaz­ing.

“If I had stayed there he would have killed me. I did be­lieve, and some­times still do be­lieve, that he will kill me.”

The char­ity has warned its life­line ser­vices are at risk this year as cru­cial fund­ing is com­ing to an end.

Outreach ser­vices for vic­tims in ru­ral ar­eas are cur­rently paid for through a Big Lot­tery Fund grant, which is due to end in June.

If a re­place­ment cash source can­not be found, the char­ity, which helped 428 women and 124 chil­dren last year, will lose out on £130,000 per year. As well as the outreach ser­vice, Women’s Aid has five refuge homes across the re­gion, pro­vided by Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity pro­vides an ad­di­tional £120,000 but staff fear this may also be cut.

Coun­cil­lors re­cently came un­der fire when The Courier re­vealed the grant is less than half of that given by neigh­bour­ing Dundee Coun­cil to its Women’s Aid branch and just one tenth of the £1.2 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion from Fife Coun­cil.

Now Claire cred­its the coun­selling and sup­port groups of­fered by Women’s Aid for help­ing her to re­build her life.

She called for the char­ity to be given more pub­lic sec­tor sup­port, say­ing it acts as a life­line for women flee­ing abuse.

“Women’s Aid has been so im­por­tant for me in mak­ing all of us re­alise that none of this was our fault, the only per­son to blame is our abuser,” she said.

“It is an amaz­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion which has lit­er­ally saved our lives. I can’t even be­gin to put into words the ad­mi­ra­tion I have for the staff and I’m eter­nally grate­ful for what they have done for me and my chil­dren. It’s like an­other emer­gency ser­vice.”

Perthshire Women’s Aid can be con­tacted on 01738 639043 or out of hours on 0800 027 1234.

Women’s Aid has been so im­por­tant for me in mak­ing all of us re­alise that none of this was our fault, the only per­son to blame is our abuser

Pic­ture: Steve MacDougall.

Outreach ser­vices for vic­tims in ru­ral ar­eas are paid for by a grant which runs out at the end of June.

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