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For Kirsty*, going through some dark times has given her the strength and motivation to help other women who had been in a similar position.

A representative image of Kirsty.

A mother to three children, who are now nearly grown up, Kirsty lived in Plymouth and went through nearly 20 years of abuse from her children’s father. She said: “I didn’t realise I was in an abusive relationship until he threatened to beat one of my children.

“The abuse took all forms – physical, mental, emotional and financial. I didn’t connect the latter three with being abusive at first, especially when he stopped being physical after I left him for the first time and threatened divorce.”

Kirsty began a slow descent into depression before getting to the point where she felt she couldn’t take any more.

In 2016, after contacting Sanctuary Supported Living’s Plymouth Domestic Abuse Services (PDAS), Kirsty couldn’t believe how positive she felt. She said: “I felt empowered! The support was immediate, discreet and just amazing.

“Once I’d completed some courses, which were really life-changing for me, I decided I wanted to help others who were in the same position and became a volunteer with PDAS.”

Kirsty started her volunteer role with PDAS in January 2019 and hasn’t looked back since. She commented: “The volunteer training was quite intense at times, but I am loving every minute of being involved with PDAS. It’s a massive part of me rebuilding my life.

“The staff are understanding and supportive, and being involved with women who have struggled through domestic abuse is incredibly rewarding.”

Visit our domestic abuse page to find out more about Sanctuary Supported Living’s support services.

I felt empowered! The support was immediate, discreet and just amazing.


* Kirsty is a pseudonym


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