Myra and Mia were referred to Welcare via Lambeth’s domestic violence service after domestic abuse towards Myra by Mia’s father. Welcare programmes for Myra (Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities) and Mia (MySpace) helped them both to come to terms with the abuse and their feelings.
My daughter’s father was abusive towards me. I had no friends or family – no-one to talk to. I felt like a nobody. I had become a frightened timid person. I couldn’t talk about my feelings or even think clearly about happened to me. The worst thing was the effect on my daughter. She was hardly going to school – she was so anxious and was always sick. She used to take it out on me – shouting and hitting out.
Social services referred us to Welcare. They thought it was important for us both to talk about the abuse, and our feelings.
We both went to a course called MySpace. It’s a 12-week programme organized by Welcare just for children from homes where there has been domestic violence to help them recover. There was a group session for the children in one room, and a separate meeting room where the parents (the non-violent parents) could sit and talk. Mia was able to talk about what had happened and start to understand her feelings about it. The people on the course made her feel welcome and that it was OK to talk. They did things like arts & crafts too – Mia’s favourite session was one where they made a volcano to help express anger.
Listening to Mia made me understand how she was feeling and what she’d been through, and the group with the other mums really helped me understand how to help her recovery and healing. It was helpful to be alongside a group of ladies with similar experiences. The support made me feel less alone, and helped me regain my confidence – we called ourselves the ‘warrior women’.
I wanted to be a better parent for Mia. So I signed up to go to Welcare’s Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities (SFSC) group too. Going to these groups helped me to feel more confident. They were also there when I really needed them, like when I had to go to an Educational panel to discuss Mia’s low school attendance. They helped me prepare what I needed to say, and I felt much less anxious going in.
Mia is going to school more now. I’m so much more confident and feel more able to understand Mia’s feelings and how to help her – we’re getting on much better now. I’ve got a place at a local college and I’m looking for a job at an emergency services phone centre. I’d like to help other people in times of crisis.
With Welcare’s help, Myra and Mia have come a long way. Welcare also contributed to a CAFCAS report to support with contact arrangements with Mia’s father, advocating for supervised contact. Mia has safe contact with her father, and is on a waiting list for a child mentor.
Find out more about our MySpace course.