After Sarah left her 12-year relationship because of increasing emotional abuse, she thought the worst was over. Instead, she was subjected to more disturbing actions including incessant messages and phone calls, unannounced visits to her house, and threatening behaviour in front of her daughters. When the police finally intervened, Sarah had a long journey ahead of her to start rebuilding her family’s lives.

“I felt the rug was pulled from under me. You go through so many emotions; anger, fear… You feel let down that you’ve done everything to provide a happy family life for your children and then it gets messed up. You feel abandoned bringing children up and financially drained.

When my BCHA Outreach Officer came in she just helped us to understand it all, process it all. She went into my daughters’ schools, guiding them emotionally – their emotions were all over the place – and helping them to come to terms with how their lives had changed. She went through the journey with us – helping my daughters to help me.

“[My BCHA Outreach Officer] went through the journey with us – helping my daughters to help me”

When I started going through court proceedings, both criminal and family court, my support worker gave me the strength to fight it through. I got bad depression and anxiety because of it all, but she was always there, she always had the right answer for me. Everything was ripped from me – I don’t know where me and the girls would be without the support from BCHA.

Before all of this, I had my own dance school for 16 years which I was forced to shut down. I need to get back to my old self and I’m getting there. Five years on, I’m starting my own business, Fitkids, which will be movement classes for all ages and abilities. For me, it’s gone from literally feeling like I’m drowning to piecing it together. My journey has made me believe that I can make a difference.”

Sarah’s piece of advice for changemaking:

“You need to surround yourself with positive people – you only live once and happiness is the priority.”

  • £5 would pay for a toiletry start up pack
  • £20 would pay for school uniform for a child
  • £50 would pay for a kitchen start up pack for Move On
  • £1,000 would create a donation those that have fled abuse with very little belongings
  • £5,000 can convert an office into a sensory room for the children in refuge