Beacon: moving on after domestic abuse

Ben* was a young man who found himself homeless after an abusive relationship.

He’d had a traumatic childhood, both witnessing and experiencing domestic abuse within his family home, and having no one to support him, Ben was referred to Beacon Leeds which provides supported housing for people experiencing multiple disadvantages.

Ben was allocated a room at one of Beacon’ Intensive Support Environments (ISE) where he arrived full of emotions spanning anxiety, sadness and anger but with very few belongings. Equipped with clothes and toiletries and given a hot meal, Ben settled into the ISE and was allocated Gail* as his Housing Support Worker (HSW).

Gail soon established Ben was not receiving all the benefits he was entitled to and together they worked through the relevant applications to claim his full benefit entitlement for Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Ben fed back he was happy with his accommodation and finally felt safe.

Working well with Gail, Ben began opening up about traumatic experiences throughout his childhood and within his adult relationships, sharing the types of abuse he had suffered. Gail suggested a referral to Nicola, Beacon’s Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) Lead, to enable him to work through his thoughts and feelings and gain a better understanding of unhealthy relationships and Ben agreed.

When Ben and Nicola met, Nicola recognised that he used an illegal substance to cope with the trauma he had experienced. She offered to refer Ben to Forward Leeds, a local drug and alcohol service, and support him in attending. Ben agreed and, over time, started to reduce his substance misuse.

During car journeys to the appointments, Ben and Nicola discussed his childhood, his negative coping strategies and his pattern of falling into unhealthy relationships. Ben agreed to start working through weekly sessions looking at what constitutes domestic violence and abuse and unhealthy relationships; why we stay in abusive relationships; coping with break ups; how we can look after ourselves/others and how DVA impacts your childhood, Self Esteem and Confidence.

Through these sessions Ben recognised the toll domestic violence and abuse had taken on his childhood, the trauma he’d undergone and was still experiencing and its impact on his confidence and self-esteem. He also recognised that he was suffering from anxiety, depression and anger issues and needed support with this. He asked Nicola for support with appointments to his GP who prescribed the medication needed to help. A referral to mental health services was also made and Ben was put on the waiting list to receive the right support for his mental health needs.

Ben started to see a more positive future and spoke about gaining confidence. He was eventually offered a property with Leeds Homes and felt ready to move on. Ben was referred to other housing support services by Gail and other DVA services by Nicola to enable him to continue with the positivity all the work had brought to his life.

Ben soon settled into his new home, was able to budget effectively and was enjoying living there. He also took on a voluntary job doing mechanics, something he had always wanted to do. Soon after, Ben also shared he was in a new relationship. He fed back "it feels different; it feels safe and really nice. Thank you for all your support; I couldn't have done it without you."

* Names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for your understanding.

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