‘I was sleeping in Bin Chhoot’ – Woman shares story of surviving after fleeing violent ex

A safe house has been opened for women on the streets in Birmingham following domestic violence. This project gives hope to women who are scarred and broken by mental or physical trauma.

Victoria (not her real name) is one of the first residents of the new reception room scheme launched earlier this year. She said she was turning her life around after a lifetime of bullying, trauma, drugs and abuse. “I’m very happy now. I can see the future.”

At one point, the 38-year-old, who had nowhere else to live, began living in a block of flats. She ran away from home, which she shared with her controlling partner, only a small bag of luggage and no money.

Read more: ‘People are starving in our rich city’ – Birmingham announces Food SOS

He said it was the shortest time to spend several nights on the streets during the winter in boxes. But after police and rescue workers were found, he was moved to a hostel, eventually securing a place in the safe house. Run through the Trident Group for Birmingham City Council, it is a pilot project funded as part of a £ 3.8m national initiative.

Speaking to Birmingham Live, Victoria recounted how she became homeless when she ran away from home with her 18-month-old boyfriend. “He was good at starting, he bought me good things, he was kind but then he got over everything. He stopped me from seeing friends and family, called me names, abused me.”

She said she did not know where to turn until she finally ran away, but came to the streets. “I wasn’t too late on my own. I knew some people who were on the streets and they took me under their arm. It’s still scary, lonely and cold. Even though it was winter, it was great. was not. “

“I was scared when I got here, but I felt safe. I was checked if I was downstairs. It’s peaceful and quiet. I have my own room with an en suite bathroom, and it’s great. Is the place to be

“I think more help is needed for women. If you feel insecure you should be able to get help. Many women on the streets don’t know what services they can get. Afraid to ask for help.

“Without it, I don’t know where I would be.”

Victoria’s bedroom in a shelter in central Birmingham

The abusive relationship was the latest trauma of a lifetime, with bullying, obscene comments and jokes, especially men rushing to take advantage of her weaknesses. He said he had been taking drugs for some time to try to alleviate the pain of his existence. She is now drug-free and awaits a place in the rehabilitation program.

This is an important service, said Joanne Spence, director of housing and support for Trident Reach, which runs the project. “We acknowledge that the city lacks professional care for women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“This project has enabled us to provide safe housing and assistance. Two outreach workers focus on building trust with women and encouraging them to seek help; we also have a navigator.” That helps access to other services. Women who sleep at bedtime or often stay at home have other needs that we want to help them meet. We want to make sure that these women To help them make decisions about their future.

He added: “The women we support often feel very isolated. They may have had access to services before and are back on the streets. “It simply came to our notice then.

Service Lead For Cllr John Cotton, Joanne Spence, Head Of Housing And Support, Trident Reach, Raelee Fleming, Trident Reach For Birmingham And Domestic Abuse Services In Derbyshire.
Service Lead for Cllr John Cotton, Joanne Spence, Head of Housing and Support, Trident Reach, Raelee Fleming, Trident Reach for Birmingham and Domestic Abuse Services in Derbyshire.

Cllr John Cotton, a member of the Central Cabinet for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equality at Birmingham City Council, added: We have to provide a place. He has been a really effective pilot and we want to help anyone affected by domestic abuse and homelessness to make sure they get what they need. ”

The trial was announced by the government and began last fall in 12 areas, including Birmingham. The total funding of £ 3.7m was for housing and professional assistance for victims of violence and abuse. The pilot scheme has been extended for six months till March 2023 to further assess its impact.

Do you have a story about housing and homelessness? Contact with confidence. Email [email protected]

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Get the latest stories on the issue of domestic violence here, including stories of survival, justice and help available to victims.

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