Claire In 2013 Debbie was my court liaison worker. Not only did she help me to attend court she helped me take the first steps of my journey with my children out of the horrendous abuse I was suffering at that time. Four years later, my two amazing children were thriving and I was a university student with my own home, money and LIFE, yet I called Debbie in tears. Despite being free from an abusive relationship I still felt broken. Debbie met me for a coffee and assured me that what I was going through with my ex-partner was still abuse. He was using the children as a way of having power and control over me and my new life still. How did I not know this ... (again)? Debbie referred me to the counselling at SAFE. Externally my life was better; I was stronger, but why was I still afraid of him? Why couldn’t I set my boundaries without fear of the consequences? I started my first session feeling very internally tired. Continuing my degree seemed unlikely as yet again I felt like a ‘terrible mother’ a ‘useless human’, a ‘failure’. Overall it still felt like my fault. During this time I began to piece it all together (slowly) and as I began to regain my power (bit by bit) he slowly lost his. This resulted in him resorting to old tactics and very quickly physical violence. But this time I was prepared! I had my amazing counsellor bringing out my warrior every week, helping me put my armour on every day and getting myself back on the path to freedom! Here I am, almost 4 months later: I graduate in July, my children are not seeing their father and I am demonstrating to them through my actions that we cannot tolerate unacceptable behaviour (we will break the pattern), we don’t accept abuse, it is not our fault and that we have the right to be safe! I am a Mum; a mum who doesn’t make excuses for abuse and puts my children in the rightful place of top priority in my life. How have I achieved this? The SAFE team, my amazing counsellor without whom I wouldn’t have attempted SAFE’s Pattern Changing course which is now renewing my hope that this abusive man cannot break me ...not then... not now... not EVER!! I can truly say from the bottom of my heart that I would not be here today if it wasn’t for the work of SAFE!