Abuse survivor thanks Gorwel for ‘incredible’ work Wednesday 11 October 2017

A domestic abuse survivor has paid a moving tribute to a north Wales women’s refuge service for its ‘incredible’ work helping turn her life around.

Abuse survivor thanks Gorwel for ‘incredible’ work

The refuge run by Gorwel was the only shelter out of 323 in the UK to accept the woman.

Now the victim, who received support from Gorwel throughout a seven-month stay, has herself started working to support other victims of domestic abuse.

She has told her story to thank Gorwel staff and encourage other victims to seek help. She has spoken on condition of anonymity.

Gorwel provides a range of support services for older people, people affected by domestic abuse and homelessness.

Established in 2006, as a business unit within Grŵp Cynefin housing association, Gorwel recently merged with De Gwynedd Domestic Abuse Service.

Gorwel’s services, help 500 vulnerable people each week through its team of 54 dedicated staff.

The domestic abuse survivor was speaking at a re-launch by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, to mark Gorwel’s expansion.

The woman, who is Russian, has lived in the UK for three years.

She said: “I had worked for a luxury cruise ship company for seven years as a croupier-cashier in the casino and a tour guide.

“It was a big decision to give up my well-paid job, family and friends, and move to another country to join the love of my life.

“My partner possessed amazing charm and charisma. He convinced me that I didn’t have to work any more, because he would provide for me and I would live like a princess. What I took as care was just control.”

She went on:

“My family life turned into a nightmare full of insults, abuse, limitations and prohibitions. I felt more and more confused and depressed.”

After 18 months, her partner’s verbal assaults turned to physical abuse. Eventually she ran away, with a small bag and £8 in her pocket.

She continued: “I spent seven months in the refuge where I was surrounded with a team of nice, caring and professional people. My support workers did an incredible job in helping me emotionally, mentally and financially.

“Together we overcame a lot of difficulties dealing with my immigration status, financial stability and health, both physical and emotional, and new housing.

“I received counselling, and, most importantly, I made new friends.

“I want to say thank you to all those who helped me to start a new life.”

Grŵp Cynefin Director of Community Services, Carina Roberts, said:

“Gorwel already works closely with partner agencies in Gwynedd, Anglesey and Denbighshire to offer expert help to older people, children and young people, and individuals who are finding it difficult to secure housing support.

“Our close collaboration with De Gwynedd Domestic Abuse Service over many years means its merger with Gorwel makes great sense.

“Testimonials from recipients of our service are the best advert we could wish for. I hope that this survivor’s story may encourage other people who could benefit from Gorwel services to come forward.”

The victim did not have the right to remain in the UK. Gorwel was the only provider which agreed to give her refuge and work with her to get the relevant paperwork to be able to stay. She now lives in north Wales, and volunteers in a charity shop. She is looking for paid work, and is starting the process of being able to volunteer for Women’s Aid.

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