Domestic abuse: Andrea’s story

“It started with money and I didn’t realise it at the time but control was insidious… a drip, drip, drip of constant checking, questioning and criticism across many years that simply wore me down. There were arguments… a lot of them. Then it moved on to violence – threatening behaviour to me and our children. He was in complete control of every aspect of my life and I could do very little about it. I was terrified.”

Andrea* could take no more and asked to end the marriage. However, her husband refused, which is a common way for the perpetrator to keep abusing the victim, long after the relationship has ended. She needed help and in desperation turned to her local Domestic Abuse Service for support.

How we helped Andrea
By talking to one of our team, Andrea received skilled practical assistance, ongoing emotional support, information and advice. Our support is by phone, face-to-face at a safe venue, or by email. We gain a comprehensive understanding of the victim’s situation and build up trust through dialogue and listening. This is followed by regular checkpoint meetings. Andrea also attended the Freedom Programme. This is a course for survivors of domestic abuse that helps individuals make sense of what has happened to them. The programme explores the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of the perpetrator and the responses of survivors. We also supported Andrea with legal and financial issues.
After many months, Andrea was able to make a fresh start. However, for many survivors it’s often a bumpy journey. The abuser may attempt to reassert control, often months or even years later, especially where money is concerned. Accepting that domestic abuse is rarely time-limited, we recognise that survivors need support across months or even years, both practical and emotional, as they build their own support network and take the path to survival.

Andrea has been able to turn her life around. She knows that it’s a long journey and she is reassured that the team at South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service is here to provide a life-line.

“The team at South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Service has been so supportive in helping me to understand the nature of the abuse and to take the right steps to build a new life. You are AMAZING… Thank you.”

South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service provides free, confidential, independent and impartial advice to anyone aged 16 or above affected by domestic abuse living in the boroughs of Waverley or Guildford. We are part of Citizens Advice Waverley and a member of Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership, a group of independent charities, working together across Surrey to ensure that survivors of domestic abuse are safe, and to build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated.

To contact South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service:

• Tel: 01483 898884
• e-mail:

*Name anonymised to protect client’s confidentiality

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