Could you help survivors of domestic abuse? Join our team of customer champions

As part of our work to be accredited by DAHA – and our involvement in the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Make a Stand campaign – we looking to appoint Domestic Abuse customer champions, who fellow customers can reach out to if they need support.

All Champions will receive full training on how they can support fellow colleagues who reach out for them to support, as we continue to work together to tackle the issue of domestic abuse.


We are pleased to have appointed our first Customer Champion as part of the campaign. The customer, who suffered domestic abuse for 14 years without telling anyone, wants to be a person that others can reach out to if they are in a similar situation.

Here, she tells her story and why she is proud to be a Customer Champion…

‘It started just after I met him. That is when I had the first slap walking through the streets. It mainly happened when he was drunk – but never in front of the kids.

He pushed me down the stairs when I was carrying my eldest. All sorts of things were happening to me. The beatings I received were done where you couldn’t see it.

I don’t know what triggered it off, but it was mental as well as physical. One time, he came in drunk. I put him on the sofa and I was very tempted to put a pillow over his face. That is how much he got to me. But I didn’t do it – because the kids kept coming back into my head and I was not going to put them through that or do time for him.

I went through that for 14 years and kept it all to myself.

Customer Champions would have been something I would have been interested in taking advantage of. Having somebody to sit, listen and believe you. Keeping these things to yourself for 14 years is very hard so having somebody to speak to would have made a difference.

Eventually, I learnt to stick up for myself and gave him back what he gave me. I gathered the courage to tell him to pack his bags and disappear. Enough was enough and I told him he had to go.

When suffering domestic abuse, you always want to get help, but it isn’t something you tell anyone as you wonder if they’ll believe you. Often you stay because of the children.

It was such a massive relief. He had put me through hell and back, but I had finally stood up to him.

I’ve started talking more about my experiences since becoming a Longhurst Group customer. I was put in touch with Rob Friday, Employment and Training Advisor as I wanted to find work. I can’t fault that man, he has been absolutely brilliant and been there for me 100 percent.

It started to come out because I told him I would love to go into prisons and see what makes the convicts tick. He asked me if I was sure and sent me away to think about it. When I went back, I said I had changed my mind and that I wanted to do a course on domestic abuse because of my past.

That is when I started my diploma, which Longhurst Group is kindly funding.

Because of seeing Rob every week, little bits have come out, although the mental scars never go away. It took a while, but he has helped me start to come out of my shell. I have had my fair share of emotional sessions with him, but he listens. If there is a problem, he will sit down and listen to you.

Going forward, I just want to be there for people if they need to talk, so I can help them out as much as I can. I want people to know they can talk to me and I will listen to them.

I really want to help the children in these situations too, as they go through it more than the parent as they see most of it and it must affect them.

When suffering domestic abuse, you always want to get help, but it isn’t something you tell anyone as you wonder if they’ll believe you.

Customer Champions would have been something I would have been interested in taking advantage of. Having somebody to sit, listen and believe you. Keeping these things to yourself for 14 years is very hard so having somebody to speak to would have made a difference.

I think it is a very good idea. You are going out there to help people get through what you have been through and you just want to help them.

Some people will still struggle to open up if they have been a victim, but hopefully having Customer Champions will go a long way towards encouraging that openness.

I would just say to people, we are here to help you and we will get you through it the best we can. I did the wrong thing and sat on it and pondered for years. But you want people to open up and talk about it. I want to be there for other people in the same situation.

I will be there 100 percent if they want to talk.

If you would like to be a Customer Champion, please fill in the form below for more information.

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