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Lisa's story: there's always hope

Content warning: domestic abuse

12 October 2021

Content warning: this customer story is about an abusive relationship, and the content may be distressing to some readers. 

Lisa’s story is not an easy one to tell. Lisa has three sons and has lived in a Futures property for 14 years. Lisa’s eldest son, Michael*, moved into his own home a few years ago, while her two other sons, Ben* and Chris*, continued to live at home. All of Lisa’s sons have high-functioning autism, which always brought its challenges, but over the last 10 years, Lisa’s life and that of her youngest son, Chris, became increasingly difficult.

Not often talked about, suffering domestic violence from a child can be a hugely traumatic experience, and often goes unnoticed. As Lisa’s son Ben was the perpetrator, the police refused to help her, insisting that even if she brought charges against him, they would bring him back to the house. The mental abuse Lisa and her youngest son suffered meant she believed Ben when he said she couldn’t make him leave the house as well. Social services said they couldn’t do anything about the abuse, even though a friend sent video evidence of the attacks. A support worker asked if the perpetrator was Lisa’s partner but when she said it was her son, confirmed they couldn’t help. Friends and family knew about the abuse but when they got involved it only made matters worse for Lisa, so they were unable to help either.

In the last six years, the abuse had got progressively worse and Ben was controlling her mentally, financially, and physically. At times, Lisa felt there was no way out, no one would help her and she’d considered ending it all. She just couldn’t carry on living like that anymore. Without support from agencies, there was no way out.

By April 2021, Lisa and Chris were suffering daily abuse and during one attack she feared for her own life. Chris was able to protect and finally save her, but in the evening after the attack, something snapped in Lisa and she decided to leave the house. They both packed a few bags and put the dogs in the back of the car and drove away. She didn’t know where to go or what to do but just needed to get away. Hours later, she found herself at a service station in Leeds, trying to work out what to do. Lockdown restrictions meant nothing was open, so they decided to go home. She drove around the streets, looking at the house and couldn’t face going in, even walking around the park in the middle of the night to avoid going home.

Finally, she crept back into the house, went upstairs and barricaded her bedroom door. She desperately needed help, but since the police and social services wouldn’t help, she was running low on options and was worried about being knocked back again when asking for help.

Lisa had looked through Futures website and at our online domestic abuse pages before, and also at Futures’ magazine. She had considered calling but was worried she’d get the same old tired response - “we can’t help because he’s your son not your partner” - and on top of that, she was anxious that telling Futures would mean she could lose her home.

Futures was the last chance to get help, and so in the morning Lisa made the phone call. The website said someone would call within 24 hours to help, and even waiting that long could be too long. Lisa couldn’t cope with another day.

She dialled the number and spoke to an advisor, who immediately put her through to a neighbourhood officer.

Lisa told her story and explained that the perpetrator was her son, and finally got the response she needed to hear. “It doesn’t matter, we can help. Are you safe right now?”.

The neighbourhood officer, also called Lisa, explained that she would contact the right services, explain the situation and get the help that was needed. She spoke to the police, social services, Lisa’s doctor and the domestic abuse support services.

She knew Lisa wasn’t safe in the house and couldn’t go back so immediately found her a holiday let where she could stay with Chris and her dogs. Lisa phoned her regularly and provided support over the phone while sorting things out in the background, she was there whenever she needed her, and continues to be.

Shortly after, Ben was arrested, and she was able to return to her own home. Futures arranged for the properties to be secured, locks were replaced and two team members were there to meet her at the door when she got home.

When she first spoke to Lisa over the phone, Lisa said to save her mobile number in her phone. She made a new contact and saved the number writing the word “Hope” as the contact name. Contacting Futures was the last chance for Lisa, and by providing the support she desperately needed she ultimately saved her life.

Lisa is now safe. She can’t express words to thank Lisa, she is happy in her life and recovering from the trauma she has experienced. Her home is the place where she feels safe now, not at risk of violence and hurt. Lisa is still there for her, at the end of the phone, ready to help.

Please reach out if you need support. There is help available, and you can find out more on the domestic abuse  section of our website.

*names have been changed to protect identities

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