Sarah and Stacey emerged from, in their own words, “a lifetime of abuse,” after accessing specialist help at the Doncaster branch of Changing Lives.
Changing Lives is a national, registered charity which provides specialist services throughout England to vulnerable people and their families.
Both Stacey, 21, and Sarah, 23, say they now have positive aspirations for the future and for their young children.
Stacey has a two-year-old boy. She grew up witnessing domestic violence between her parents as a child. Despite vowing to herself that she would never accept a violent relationship, she discovered after becoming pregnant that her partner had a police record that he hadn’t disclosed to her.
This meant intervention from social services throughout Stacey’s pregnancy, and after the baby was born.
“I couldn’t go to bed without tidying up the entire house, worrying that if I didn’t, they’d say she might be taken away,” said Stacey.
“I felt low. I was worried and stressed about what they thought and what might happen, constantly questioning myself and my ability to bring up a child.”
“I didn’t blame social services. They had to keep the baby safe. The father was a big risk.”
“He would stand outside threatening to burn my house down. I had to pay him in beer to look after my son because he wouldn’t look after him while I went to work. He hit me in front of my son. I decided I had to do something, because I knew I couldn’t allow my son to grow up thinking this is the right way to treat women.”
At Changing Lives, Stacey completed courses and one-to-one therapies. She became friends with Sarah, who has three young children.
“Every relationship I’ve been in has been abusive in one way or another, whether it’s been physical or emotional,” said Sarah.
“I found that I had eventually become the abuser.”
“Things went really sour when I was pregnant with my last child. My partner had me in headlocks, and was breaking into my house.”
“I’m feeling positive now. We [Sarah and Stacey] are going to get where we need to be, through Changing Lives.”
“There is help out there. People are willing to talk to you. I’ve come from a background of abuse, from being born. And now, I’ve got aspirations. I want to do for other people what Changing Lives has done for me.”