All clients that join our programmes go on a journey, by joining a programme they are taking steps to move forward with their lives. There are times when clients feel particularly proud of how far they've come and would like to share their stories.
Names have been changed to ensure clients' safety and privacy.
Ellie was referred to our child to parent violence (CAPVA) programme by her Keyworker. Ellie was experiencing verbal and physical abuse from her eldest child, who was nine-years old at the time and has a diagnosis of ADHD and Autism. Ellie told us that the situation had become so bad that her mental health was severely suffering and her relationship with her children was being impacted. She no longer wanted to spend time with her abusive child and felt helpless. She would drop the boys off at school, come home and as soon as the door was closed, she would collapse in floods of tears.
Ellie suffers with severe anxiety and was, initially apprehensive about joining the group programme. However, she told us that she found it to be a friendly, welcoming environment where she felt comfortable sharing her experiences. Realising that she is not the only parent who has experienced abuse from her child has been one of the best things about accessing the group. "I am not alone".
Whilst on the programme the facilitators, Jude and Jo, gave Ellie sensitive and collaborative suggestions, and positive feedback on her progress. Ellie highlighted that instead of being told what to do with her children, they would say “Have you tried ….?”. This was a contrast to other parenting programmes Ellie had been on in the past, and an approach which she said she very much appreciated and felt worked for her.
Ellie also received 1:1 IDVA support from Jude. They worked on practical and emotional issues together including co-producing a whole family safety plan for when Ellie’s child became abusive. Ellie reported that this work resulted in her feeling more in control. They also discussed concerns she had around her children’s inappropriate topics of conversation.
Ellie's second child is awaiting a diagnosis of ADHD. A practical tip that Ellie has put into practice is using emotion wheels with her sons to encourage them to share how they are feeling and why. She says this has made a real difference to their behaviour and her reactions. They now all recognise that being open about their feelings is beneficial to the family. In addition to this, Ellie has reflected on her reactions to the children’s behaviour, she feels calmer and more in control which in turn has minimised the escalation in behaviour of her eldest son. She now feels more confident to set a boundary and stick to it and he is more likely to accept it.
Ellie admits to having previously lost faith in professionals, however, since attending the CAPVA programme she feels this faith has been restored. . Ellie strongly believes this help needs to come at the earliest point when abuse starts. she wishes she had had the chance to attend the programme earlier as she believes things wouldn’t have got so bad. At HSES we realise this, and are working extremely hard to secure additional funding to run more programmes supporting parents experiencing abuse from their child or teenager.
Ellie says she is proud of herself, something which she has never said out loud before. Her mental health is in a much better place, she is happier and more confident, and she is enjoying spending time with her children. She feels the course has given her parenting confidence back. Although she knows parenting two sons with complex needs will be an ever-changing journey, she feels the tools and confidence gained from working with Home-Start East Sussex, stand her in good stead for the future. For now, Ellie and her boys are enjoying a calmer household and have started growing vegetables together.
“It has changed my life, and my family’s life”.
When Katy was referred to the domestic abuse recovery programme she was living in fear, with high levels of anxiety and low confidence. She had been forced to move towns and struggled to form and maintain relationships, including friendships.
Katy says she learned a great deal about healthy relationships and red flags and that she benefitted greatly from opening up about her experiences with others who had been through similar experiences. “I feel wiser”.
Katy was also offered 1:1 IDVA support. Jude helped her access other support she desperately needed including bereavement counselling which Katy says was an important stage in her recovery. She then completed the Lotus Blossom Peer Mentoring Programme, addressed her health issues and secured paid employment.
Katy was able to confidently start a new relationship. She describes herself as a happy, confident mum with goals and aspirations. Katy is passionate about helping other survivors of domestic abuse, Katy reported that if she had not joined the Lotus domestic abuse recovery programme, she would still be afraid to go out and would not feel safe at all.
“If you’re offered a space on the Lotus domestic abuse recovery programme, do not hesitate!”
If I hadn't joined the Lotus domestic abuse recovery programme, I would still be afraid to go out and wouldn't feel safe at all.