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Women and Girls: The Venus Centre

7 June 2016

The Venus Centre is one of 63 projects that has recently received funding through our Women and Girls initiative. Based in Sefton, they will be working with women who have lost their children to public care or adoption to empower them to manage their own lives.

In the latest of our Women and Girls blogs, Sally, 35, who has been involved with Venus since she was 16 tells, us how she’s now more in control of her life and her children’s. She has experienced a lot of trauma in her life including sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, substance misuse, poverty, poor housing and mental health problems. Sally has five children in care.

SallySally’s story:

“I feel more confident. I had help from Venus to learn to deal with stress.  I was taking tablets, drinking, my husband was violent and I had no family support at all. I had been sexually abused by my dad when I was young, my family wouldn’t speak to me and social services were involved because I was struggling to cope with looking after my children. I would shout and rant and rave at social services because I was scared of them and didn’t know how to cope with it.

I thought because my mum experienced and dealt with domestic violence that I had to too. I thought I just had to put up with all the terrible things in my life because that’s all I deserved.

Venus helped me to get my point across to social services, and understand what was being said to me. Even with that support it has taken me 16 years to learn how to deal with everything that has happened to me and understand the effect it had on me, my relationships and my children. Having someone I trusted to help me deal with social services, court proceedings, my poor mental health, drugs and alcohol, domestic violence, abuse in the past and everything else has made the difference for me.

Venus helped me see a psychologist. They helped me to be positive and happy, I can speak to people about what has happened to me and I am happy to share my story if it helps others to get through the same kind of situation. When you’re in that kind of situation, you don’t know who you can trust, so you don’t talk because you think everyone or anyone will snitch on you and get you into more trouble.

What I have learned, with support from Venus, is that it’s best to talk about it with someone you can trust. I learned to trust Venus because all the staff are welcoming, happy, friendly and they tell me straight if I’m making a mistake, even when I don’t like what they’re saying. I haven’t got family to tell me or give me advice, Venus is the only family I know.

If I was to advise someone in the same situation as me, I would say to look at themselves, look at the situation they’re in and think about their children and the effect all those issues have on them. I’d also tell them to listen to social services, don’t rant and rave like I did. Work with them to make your children’s lives better and stop them going into care. Just because you’re scared, doesn’t mean you can hide from it and it won’t happen; you can do something before it gets too late.

Venus helped me improve my parenting. I used to let my kids get away with so much, my eldest used to be the parent and I was the child. Venus helped me learn about good parenting and become a better parent. I used to think I could solve my problems with violence and Venus helped me look at that behaviour and realise it’s not fair on my children. I had a bad attitude.

Venus listens, accepts you and helps you without judging you or the situation you’re in. With Venus’ help I realised I wasn’t born to be bashed, to be kicked, I wasn’t born to be a slave. I deserve a good life, nice things and a nice family – Venus helped me see that.”

Through her own determination to make better choices and address the barriers she faces, along with tailored support from Venus, Sally has developed better parenting skills, improved her mental health and wellbeing, developed healthy coping strategies, stopped substance misuse, escaped domestic violence and learned to recognise and build better relationships. Since her 5 children went into care, Sally has had a further 2 children who both live with her. She has made positive changes and worked with social services to ensure that her children are happy, healthy and well looked after at home with their mum.

 

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