M’s story

M was fleeing financial and emotional abuse from her ex-parnter who was the father of her then 2-month-old daughter. M had been kidnapped and trafficked into the UK by a family member in the EU for prostitution pruposes, and had suffered significant prolonged trauma as a result. Social care became involved and M was terrified of losing her daughter since she had already lost custody of her 3 other children due to being trafficked. She also had health concerns relating to untreated Hepatitis B and D. However, Sheffield Women’s Aid liaised with other services to ensure M had additional support outside of what SWA was able to offer, including City Hearts, Snowdrop, and Archer Project who have provided M with support for her immigration status. She was also supported with finances, transititoning her from maternity pay from her previous employer to Universal Credit, as well as applying for enhanced DLA and PIP. This allowed M to have greater financial security. M was also supported in seeking legal advice which led to her pressing assault charges against her ex-partner. M went to court and gave evidence, securing a non-molestation order for 5 years, and no contact with their daughter. Giving evidence required M to have confidence to agree to do it. She felt more able to do this after gaining confidence from receiving support. She worked with staff to improve her confidence and self-esteem as well as develop her English skills, and is able to read and understand English more confidently. M received support in securing a property where she could live independently, and ensure the transition from living in the refuge to her own property was done in a way that was at the right speed for M. Having her own place meant she and her daughter could make plans for the future. M said that SWA was “the family she never had” and allowed her to nurture her relationship with her child.