16 Days of Action: Bryony’s Story

Bryony made a self-referral to the Community Team in summer 2020. She had fled from her husband about 1 month prior to reaching out for support due to his abusive behaviour towards her. She had intended to leave sooner but had been unsure how this could be managed given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Bryony managed to enter a ‘bubble’ and was staying with a friend but knew this could not be a long-term arrangement.

Bryony described her estranged husband as very controlling and emotionally abusive towards her, e.g. he had prevented her from accessing any money of her own or having a bank account. She also disclosed physical abuse had been perpetrated against both her and her older children. Bryony said she had been frightened to tell anyone about this abuse.

Bryony had finally decided to reach out for support (having been the victim of domestic abuse for many years) as her youngest child had been removed from her care by her estranged husband. She was not able to have any contact with him. Advantage had been taken of the pandemic situation to claim her son would not be safe in her care.

Support was provided to help Bryony register with Leeds Housing Options and search for appropriate accommodation. Bryony was supported to access legal advice and legal aid. An emergency application was made to court, although matters took longer to deal with than initially anticipated due to communication with the solicitor being via telephone/email only and court hearings not being in person. Bryony was supported to recognise what crimes had been committed against her within the domestic abuse she had experienced and to report these to the police. Information was provided to enable Bryony to access her own bank account and benefits.

Following completion of a risk assessment, a MARAC referral was submitted due to the high-risk score. Bryony disclosed that she had been threatened several times by her estranged husband and he had been upping the number of calls/texts to her. All of these more recent messages included attempts to get her to go to the house they formerly shared or meet him elsewhere, under the guise that she’d be able to see her son. Bryony was supported to recognise that her estranged husband was attempting to manipulate the situation and that it wouldn’t be safe to engage.

Behind Closed Doors support Bryony to access suitable new accommodation and utilise the LCC bond scheme to enable a move to take place. Bryony’s child was returned to her care and contact arrangements were made via court. The domestic abuse related offences were logged with the Police and Bryony increased in confidence enough to be able to report further offences when necessary. Bryony attained financial independence and Bryony was no longer at high risk at the point of case closure.

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