Victims of domestic violence and abuse have been telling their stories to raise awareness surrounding the work done by domestic violence charities in Nottingham.
Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid, Newark Women’s Aid and Juno are the three largest domestic violence charities in Nottingham.
Previous research conducted by Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid and Juno showed that domestic abuse in Nottingham drastically increased over the nationwide lockdowns.
This led to a huge increase in demand for their services.
Nationwide, there was an average of 60,000 reports of domestic violence each month.
In Nottingham, between April 2020 to the end of December 2020 the community domestic abuse services supported over 1,900 survivors, 99% of whom were women.
The demand for Juno’s 24-hour helpline also doubled in demand from 2019 to 2020.
One woman, who shared her experience with Nottingham Women’s Aid, explained that she endured eight months of abuse prior to seeking support from the charity.
The woman’s movements were monitored, as was her phone usage and her contact with friends and family was limited.
Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid revealed: “The woman was severely affected by the abuse which impacted on her mental health, her drug and alcohol use and her capacity to apply for contact with her children.
“She was with the refuge for nine months and made huge changes during her time there.
“She completed the domestic abuse work meaning she has in-depth knowledge of perpetrator tactics and behaviour, healthy relationships and informed choices.”
The woman told the charity: “I would be dead or in prison, you saved my life. You are amazing and have completely changed my life around for the better. I had full support and you helped me through everything I needed. Staff went above and beyond for me.”
A second woman who was helped by Juno, was referred to the charity by Women’s Aid, after nine months of physical, verbal and psychological abuse.
She believed that her partner was capable of killing her.
Juno revealed that the women’s partner was friendly to start with, but began to develop signs of jealousy and control.
They said: “At first it was physical intimidation: rough handling, poking, pushing her and squashing her with his body. Then it became verbal, raising his voice and name calling.
“This was followed by moodiness, then sudden outbursts of anger, slamming doors and absence from the home.
“Once she delivered the baby, she immediately suffered a health crisis and the abuse became open, more frequent and intense. The perpetrator would yell at her as well as her 12-year-old autistic son. She was submissive and passive, hoping to keep their family unit together.”
Juno enabled the woman to take the time she needed to recover from her intense anxiety and the fear she felt from her partner.
The charity were offered weekly support to help the trauma from the domestic abuse.
This follows the establishment from a new Nottinghamshire Domestic Abuse Support Service in April 2020.
Rebecca Atchinson, senior public health and commissioning manager said: “Domestic abuse support services successfully transitioned their support offer during the lockdown process to deliver services remotely and virtually and maintain contact with all survivors.
“The pandemic has seen survivors and their children require support in different ways. This has required services to adapt how they deliver support to meet the needs and preferences of survivors and be inline with the Covid restrictions.”