Debra’s* Story

Debra’s* Story

In a study by Shelter, 40% of all homeless women stated that domestic violence was a contributor to their homelessness. Domestic violence was found to be “the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless” (Cramer & Carter, 2002).

One of these women is Debra*, this is her story and how VRF helped her find a safe home.

Debra came to a women’s charity in a very distressed state. She had fled serious domestic violence in London after twelve years of abuse; she had family in Liverpool and was sleeping on different family members floors. Debra had fled at the only appropriate time and was forced to leave her daughter in London. As Debra did not have a proper address she was unable to take her daughter with her. Debra has always worked so a social worker helped her to claim benefits, however as she had only just claimed benefits she was unable to apply for help from the DWP as many people do. She was given a deposit bond from the council in London, but had no means to get rent in advance for a property. This was affecting not only her mental and physical health but also her ability to fight for contact with her daughter. Then she applied to the VRF and things began to take a different turn. When awarded the £250 grant Debra was able to secure the rent in advance on a property. Debra has now been in the property for a week for which the VRF provided bedding and some furniture. Debra secured a solicitor’s appointment after she secured a stable address, so now she will be able to fight to see her daughter. Debra has also begun a confidence building course which will eventually make her ready to return to work. Without the VRF none of this would have happened. Now Debra is no longer homeless she is in a position to begin the healing process.

*This name has been changed for privacy purposes

Domestic Abuse Informational Background:

More than 1.1 million or 7% of women and 720,000 or 4% of men have been victims of some kind of domestic abuse in the past year, official crime figures reveal.

The full scale of the hidden world of sexual assault, family abuse and stalking is revealed in official figures that show that nearly 5 million women or 30% of the adult female population have experienced some form of domestic abuse since age 16.  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/13/domestic-abuse-violence-victims-crime-survey-figures)