For most people summer is a time to relax and have some fun, but it can be a difficult period for victims of domestic abuse.
While some families spend time apart during the summer, others spend more time together, which can make it harder for those affected to seek help, increasing feelings of isolation.
With children spending more time at home, parents can also feel tremendous pressure to keep them entertained, increasing tensions within a relationship.
Croydon’s FJC team provides borough wide support for those experiencing domestic abuse. A drop in and appointment service is available along with, personal safety advice, legal advice, access to safe emergency accommodation, specialist housing advice, counselling and support for children, as well as access to a free crèche on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The service has been praised by one woman who needed support last summer: “The FJC being open during the summer holidays changed my life really. I was able to get advice, and have someone listen to my story while my ex-partner was away on holiday – a holiday which gave me time to leave the flat without being harassed and followed by him,” she said.
“I was really worried about coming to the centre on my own. I wanted my daughter for support, and to find out that she could come and use the free crèche for her daughter was amazing. It meant she could be there for me without me worrying that my granddaughter would hear what I was saying.
“Since then, I have been given support to move into another property and I’ve applied to volunteer at a charity shop near where I live. I am no longer a prisoner in my own home.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities
“I would encourage anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence to please seek help. You are not alone – our services are there to help you.”
The FJC team has just completed domestic abuse awareness training for more than 100 police Safer Neighbourhood Team staff, sharing their knowledge with officers from across the Croydon, Bromley and Sutton south area borough command unit.
The council’s front-line service staff have also had this training, and the antisocial behaviour officers, income officers, caretakers, tenancy officers and library staff will be trained in the new future.
If you, or someone you know, needs support, please contact the FJC on 020 8688 0100 and see www.croydon.gov.uk/community/dabuse/fjc
Alternatively call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 (freephone line, 24 hours a day). In an emergency call the police on 999.