Karen’s Story

“Christmas was awful with my ex-husband. On Christmas day my kids and I would have to wait for him before we were able to open our presents. He’d keep making excuses to make us wait – like he’d take the dog out, and would be gone for ages. The dog was always the priority over any of us in the house. We would always be treading on eggshells around him, trying to appease him. Whenever we went out, he’d yell abuse at me, calling me a cripple because I had to use crutches because of my back condition. I’d be so embarrassed, I’d just wait for the floor to eat me up.


“When my daughter and I moved into the refuge, I felt so lucky. I was in a wheelchair yet everything was accessible. All the other women rushed out to help us move our stuff in. Refuge staff made me feel so at ease. The speed at which they helped me access benefits and support was incredible – they were kind, patient, caring, and understanding. They helped me talk about what I’d been through. The first day I arrived there was food here,everything I needed. There was also a bag of toys and clothes for my daughter, and I cried when I saw that. It meant a lot.


“Last year I was lucky enough to be in the safety of the refuge in December and I couldn’t wait for Christmas Day – it was the first time my daughter and I were able to enjoy the festive period. Nobody told me how useless I was, nagging about what TV programme I was watching. We had our own tree and people donated gifts to us both. It was so touching to see that people cared – it was heart-warming; I was so grateful. The Refuge staff also bought the kids presents and gave us a special festive dinner. It felt strange – and amazing. It felt like a miracle.”


“Every mother and child deserves to feel safe and loved at Christmas, and nobody should ever have to grow up witnessing or experiencing domestic violence. We need your help so we can continue to provide our vital services and help more women escape domestic violence – before it’s too late.


“Any amount you can give will help more women get the support they need to flee a violent partner – and it could save a life this Christmas. Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas.

*Names have been changed to protect the women and children we support

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