In her late 60s, Gail found herself immobile and recovering from cancer – this after decades of living under her husband’s constant coercion and threats of violence. The Vicar’s Relief Fund paid her first month’s rent in advance on a safe property, where she could finally start her physical and emotional recovery, away from her abuser.

Gail* was in her late 60s when she was referred to West Mercia Women’s Aid by her social worker. She was living in sheltered housing with her husband of many years but his constant coercion, verbal abuse and threats of violence had become too much for her to bear and she was self-harming and had become isolated from her family.

Gail was in poor health with chronic respiratory disease, diabetesneuropathy and arthritis. She was also recovering from breast cancer, used a mobility scooter, had an oxygen cylinder and had to sleep in a hospital bed.  

West Mercia Women’s Aid was able to work closely with a local housing provider to find Gail safe, independent accommodation that eventually became a permanent home for herself and her dog. The initial cost to secure the housing though was beyond Gail’s means, as is the case for many victims of coercion, whose abusers use financial control to keep them isolated and unable to leave. 

The Vicar’s Relief Fund made it possible for Gail to take up her tenancy – providing the month’s rent in advance which she would otherwise have had no means of procuring and would have been unable to extricate herself from her husband’s control. Other local charities helped with funding for removal costs, so that Gail could retain some of her treasured possessions.   

Gail has reconnected with her children and grandchildren and has settled well into the community. With the stress of living with abuse now removed, her health has improved and she is using her oxygen cylinder and mobility scooter far less than when she was first referred for help and support. We wish Gail a successful and happy continued recovery with her family in her own home.


*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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