After I experienced abuse in my relationship I had to go on a long waiting list for several months until I was offered an appointment with a specialist domestic abuse counselling service in a neighbouring town. The wait was awful, but I was patient. There’s a lot of demand for these services, so I didn’t make a fuss. I’ve had counselling before, so I was very anxious as I know how it opens up horrible experiences for me and how painful it can be before it starts to be better.
Week 1: I finally had my first session, an assessment. This brought the whole abuse stuff back to me, so was tough talking about it and when I left to travel back home I felt upset. I liked the counsellor though, she was lovely.
Week 2: I had my first counselling session with the same lovely counsellor. I cried a lot afterwards and called my peer mentor at Cohort 4. She helped me cope with what I’d been talking about and how awful it had made me feel. She assured me that this was quite normal and kept in touch with me throughout the week to help me stay positive. This support was just what I needed to cope.
Week 3: I travelled to the next town for my planned session. My counsellor didn’t show up. I felt devastated after psyching myself up for a couple of days beforehand to face this. ‘Personal issues’ they said, but there was nothing else offered by the organisation. I just had to wait until next week.
Week 4: Again, feelings of dread and having to push myself to make the journey to the counselling session. No counsellor again. “We’ll be in touch,” they said, that was now months ago, still no contact from them. I’ll be honest, it’s not good this.
I feel so let down, to have yet another assessment and start something that I really needed to be able to deal with what’s happened to me, yet be let down again. Not for the first time sadly I have felt let down by a few services in my life. I don’t know what I’d have done without my peer support at Cohort 4 as I do struggle with self harm and significant mental health.
I’m now on a waiting list for a women’s domestic abuse programme with another organisation, but months have gone by and I’ve still had no contact after the referral went in. Soon it will be a year since my ex partner did what he did to me. I think there’s just too many victims around here and not enough services to help those into being survivors. I do feel let down, there’s nothing I can do about it though.