I am AK. I have three children aged four, seven and nine, and I had to leave my home due to domestic violence from my husband and his extended family. I came to the refuge in Slough after my neighbour called the police to tell them I was being beaten again. The police came and took me and my children out of the house and took me to the refuge.
This was more than a year ago now, and looking back I can remember how frightened and traumatised I was. I was confused, I didn’t know if I had done the right thing: ‘how was I going to look after my children? what was I going to do for money? and how was my family back home going to react to this?’
The refuge staff supported me and my children from the very first day, by making us feel welcome, reassuring us that things would get better. My children were presented with a welcome pack of toys and books, which they told us were from KidsOut.
My children were more traumatised than me. Meeting the other children at the refuge helped them, the toys and gifts given to them helped break that awkwardness and isolation as they played with other children who had been given toys.
My life started to turn around, for the first time I had control, my children went to a local school, we all got counselling, and above all we received help and support as the refuge was made to feel like home.
Staff told me about trips arranged for the families to theme parks and places like the London Eye. I would never have been able to take my children to such places, I would not even have known how to get somewhere like this, but at the refuge we got the opportunity to do these trips as families and it brought so much joy and happiness to our children. I got to build a bond back with my children and they got to see a normal family life, a normal family on a day out, family day out.
KidsOut has helped me in so many ways that I cannot even begin to say. I was not the victim of abuse anymore, I was a mum and I was able to plan trips and days out with my children because of KidsOut. I am very thankful to them, these days trips raised my confidence, showed my children that we could have fun days, good happy days; very different from the tension and upset they were so used to seeing.
My children drew pictures at the refuge of the London Eye trip with all four of us standing by the river, big smiles on our faces. When I saw these pictures I wanted to cry as I had never seen my children draw happy pictures.
When it came time for us to leave the refuge and move into our home and start life again, KidsOut sent an individual Toy Box for each one of my children; so many toys and books. This was a great help as my children set up these toys in their own bedrooms and loved playing with all the things that came for them; it made the move easier and it kept them happy
I would like to take this time to thank KidsOut for all their help and kindness. I still get asked if I want to go on a day out and sometimes we still get cinema tickets to take the children to watch Disney films. The refuge staff still remain in contact and it’s so nice they still include us in trips, I am very thankful.
*Note: Names and pictures are changed to protect identities.