If you'd told me last Christmas that I'd be in my own home and my kids would be safe, I just wouldn't have believed you.

I’d just turned 21 when I first met Neil. The first year was amazing.We got on so well and I honestly thought I’d met the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I never expected how much things could change. Within a couple of years, he was constantly calling me names, telling me I wasn’t good enough for him and trying to drive a wedge between me and my family and friends. It wasn’t long before he’d hit me. I was terrified of what he would do if I left. So I stayed. For years. 

The only thing I focused on was keeping my kids, Jerome and Amelia, safe from him. Then, earlier this year, I’d been visiting a friend on Sunday afternoon. He’d hit me on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and this time, I knew that I couldn’t hang around to see what would happen next. All I had with me was the pram, a nappy bag and Jerome and Amelia, but I knew I just couldn’t go back. I phoned a charity who put us into an emergency hostel. There were much older men at the hostel, and I was really worried about the kids staying there. There were so many times I thought about going back just so that we didn’t have to stay there. Thankfully, after a couple of weeks, we were referred to Llamau.

As soon as I moved in, the Support Workers were so friendly and made me and the kids feel instantly at home. Jacky and Angharad really took the time to get to know me as a person. I’ve never cried so much in my life as the day Jacky told me they’d found a house for us. For the first time in a long time, we’ll be spending Christmas as a family where we all feel safe.

Llamau have helped me to see that I am capable of achieving whatever I want to. I’m really looking forward to making my own decisions about my life. Really, I’ve just always wanted me, Jerome and Amelia to be happy. Thanks to Llamau, that finally feels possible.

I know that there are many more women and children in Wales who will be living with the fear that I used to live with on a daily basis. I just really wish that all of them could get support from Llamau to see that their lives could be so different. That is why I am asking if you will help a family like mine this Christmas. Take it from me your gift, no matter what size, will make a real difference.

*Names and images have been changed