Watford Women’s Centre, provides a range of services that delivers life transforming outcomes for its community in a number of ways. Working in partnership with other local organisations we provide emotional, mental health and practical support tailored to the needs of Domestic Abuse victims and survivors and we provide adult training and wellbeing courses to the wider community. We also work to evoke change by working within the system and engaging with professionals within statutory and non-statutory agencies.
Watford Women’s Centre continues to support women to end domestic abuse and other forms of gendered violence, enabling them to be safer and lead a better quality of life. During the year 2019-2020 there was an increasing high level of need for support for survivors of domestic abuse and our training services. The infographics below give a snapshot of how we supported our local community during the year.
I was encouraged to improve my English and I have a job now thanks to the careers service at Watford Women’s Centre.
I came to the UK on a spousal visa after getting married in my home country. My husband was lovely at first. He helped me look for work, filled out the application forms for me, supported me in opening a bank account. We went everywhere together, to church, food shop, clothes shopping, park. He took me to work everyday and picked me up. Everything was perfect. I thought he loved me.
Then one day I told him I would get the bus to work. He got very angry accusing me of not being ungrateful for all his sacrifices. He also started asking me not to talk to people in church. He was following me around everywhere, listening in to my conversations with other church members. He started complaining about my cooking, what I was wearing. He was checking how I was spending my money every day and then one day he stopped my bank card. He became verbally abusive and I became frightened. It became normal to me and anyway I didn’t think airing my dirty linen in public was going to help me. I wanted this marriage to work. I loved him. So I put up with him.
But over time he made me feel worthless. I felt suffocated. Then he started threatening me with deportation and that was the point when I felt I needed to talk to someone.
I contacted the Watford Women’s Centre. My Domestic Abuse case worker made an initial assessment of me and she worked with me for a long time. She made me recognise, I was being abused. I genuinely thought that his behaviour towards me was normal. The Centre talked to me like a friend. They told me about my options, they give me the time I needed to build my confidence, they didn’t judge me. When I felt ready, I left him and they helped me to find safe accommodation and access to free legal advice.
I am happy now. I’m in a safe environment and my dream is to train as a nurse with the NHS. I know I can make that dream come true. Watford Women’s Centre made that possible for me and I will always be grateful to them.