Jessica*, 21, was unhappy in her relationship, which had become increasingly controlling. She felt isolated from everyone and, when her partner became physically aggressive with her as she held their newborn, she knew she could not stay.
“It started with little things – isolating me from friends and family, controlling the money and it got worse. He assaulted me with the baby in my arms. He was just a few days old and I thought ‘I can’t do this anymore’.”
Her midwife referred her to Wild Young Parents. It’s a project which uses money raised through Red Nose Day to provide a range of activities and support to young parents who are dealing with issues ranging from mental health to domestic abuse.
“When I first started coming, it was the freedom to be away from him and be me. It was nice to have a safe environment, make new friends. It was like a breath of fresh air.”
When Jessica decided to leave her partner, project worker, Clare, was there to support her. Jessica is now about to become a peer mentor for other mums dealing with similar issues to those she experienced and is looking toward the future with her two children.
“When I decided to leave him, Clare sat with me in the council offices on her day off, so I could be safe and away from him with my children. It took a while to get my head around it and it was very hard, but I had to put my kids first and tell myself it was for the best. I am ten times the person I was. I’ve grown so much. I can wear, say, and do what I want.”
*identities have been protected
The poorest parts of Cornwall have some of the highest levels of deprivation in Europe. Wild Young Parents works with disadvantaged young mums, and dads, experiencing the ‘toxic trio’ of domestic abuse, poor mental health and drug and alcohol use.
Red Nose Day cash pays for holistic services, such as developing awareness of the impact of parents’ own childhood issues, improving health and well-being, encouraging safety in the home, and improving relations between families and their community.