Mother-of-three thanks charity for helping them escape her abusive marriage

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AFTER fleeing an abusive relationship, a mother-of-three is starting a new life down south and wants to thank the charity that helped her family have a good Christmas.

Nicola Brown and her three young children were forced to leave their home in Cheltenham last year after her husband’s behaviour spiralled out of control.

Nicola Brown with her three children

Nicola Brown with her three children

The 44-year-old said: ‘It was coercive control mainly and he had outbursts and wouldn’t recognise his behaviour and would blame me. We also worked together so we were with each other all the time.

‘When his behaviour started to have an effect on my five-year-old son who almost got expelled from school I knew I had to leave and we got help from Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Service who then passed us to Southern Domestic Abuse Service when we moved down to Southampton.’

The family spent a few months in refuge organised by SDAS (now known as Stop Domestic Abuse) before moving to other accommodation in Havant.

Nicola said: ‘It was extremely tough to be in a place that is not your home especially after having left everything. It was a scary time but the team were so supportive and helped us to have a good Christmas considering everything we had been through.

‘I don’t think the children suffered apart from all the moving around because the charity was so amazing.’

Speaking on The News’ Comfort and Joy campaign, Nicola said: ‘Most people who flee have nothing and don’t have any finances so being able to get a Christmas present means such a lot.’

Now Nicola wants to start a blog to help other men and women leave similar situations.

She added: ‘I have a friend who is going through the same thing and I understand why she doesn’t want to leave because it feels easier to stay. But I think once you make that first move, you really do get so much support which I think is something people need to know because it can feel like you are alone.

‘Even now we are supported in our private home with counselling and any other help we need. We went to a Christmas party put on by staff and my eldest has really clicked with one of the male members and they go out on trips to Portsmouth which is really good time out for him.’

Nicola added: ‘I want everyone to know there are options out there.’

How you can support our Comfort and Joy appeal

- Buy a Christmas card and write a message (please do not put your name and address)

- Purchase a supermarket voucher of £5

- Put the gift card into the Christmas card, but do not seal the envelope

- Place in a large envelope (seal this one) and place in a Tesco store post box or send to Deanery office, St Faith’s Church, Crasswell Street, Portsmouth, PO1 1HT