A LONG-suffering domestic abuse victim has described how she rebuilt her life after escaping from her controlling and abusive partner.

Anna, not her real name, was driven to the brink of suicide by years of emotional and psychological abuse from her partner.

She eventually left her tormentor in London, heading to Brighton on the brink of a breakdown and into the arms of specialist services in the city.

When she arrived she met with the rough sleepers’ team which supported her until she found a temporary home.

The team gave her information about the Domestic Abuse Surgery, which opened in Hove Town Hall in January and is open every Wednesday from 9am to noon.

Domestic violence

There she met Rosie, an independent domestic violence advisor from RISE, Freedom from Domestic Abuse, the Brighton charity who helped her to feel “very safe”.

Anna said: “We made a safety plan and looked at ways to ensure my ex-partner couldn’t find me and how to manage my mental health. I needed someone who was strong and she has given me so much care and support. It really caught me.”

She has also received peace of mind, felt safer and slept more soundly knowing that Sussex Police officers were safeguarding her address.

A few months on from her desperate escape from London, Anna still gets support from RISE’s domestic abuse prevention and recovery service and regularly attends the peer support group, which gives a safe space for survivors of abuse to reflect on their experiences.

She said: “The support from RISE has been brilliant. I felt so isolated. Because it was psychological and emotional you don’t realise it’s abuse. Knowing that, yes it is abuse and it’s wrong, meant so much.”

Anyone in need of support can access the drop in at Hove Town Hall and ask for the surgery at the customer service centre reception.

Sussex Police can be contacted on 101 or 01273 470101. RISE can be contacted on 01273 622822 or at www.riseuk.org.uk.

The 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is on 0808 2000 247.