‘There was so much control’: domestic abuse victim speaks out as charity supporting her receives funding boost
Victims of domestic abuse in West Norfolk have been boosted by extra funding from Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
The Pandora Project charity has received £85,000 from Lorne Green to help those in need of advice and support.
Mr Green, who visited the charity in Lynn on Thursday said: “Domestic abuse is an epidemic and plague in our society.
“Many of the sufferers have been to hell and back again so it is important to build up their self-esteem.
“It is the part of the job I am most moved by, seeing people here on the road to rehabilitation.”
The project has been funded by the PCC since 2016 when it received an initial grant of nearly £180,000 for a three-year period.
Founded by Tracy Mahoney in 2013, Pandora’s logo is a butterfly, symbolising how domestic abuse sufferers have now broken out of their cocoon.
One domestic abuse sufferer who Mr Green visited last week said she has become a “different person” with the help of Pandora.
“My ex-husband took all my bank account cards when he found out I was getting a divorce,” said the victim, named Sarah for confidential purposes.
“I had to grab anything I could. I do not think I would be here today if I had not opened the box with Pandora.
“I am now 80 per cent up to where I should be and am a totally different person.
“There was so much control, I was not even allowed to dye my own hair. But because I was in that relationship since I was 20-years-old it became normal.”
Sarah said she found out about the charity four-years-ago, which supports around 300 female clients on a one-to-one basis.
Pandora also works with roughly 140 children each year as well.
Sarah continued: “There are various coping mechanisms I have learnt through Pandora.
“I feel like every day is better because it is better than yesterday. I still going have bad days but most of the time it is better.
“Initially I could not engage but when I buckled down I had so much support and it became easier.”
Pandora runs an Open The Box project in addition to its ongoing advice and support, a 10-week recovery programme for women who have left abusive partners.
Founder Tracey Mahoney said: “There was no domestic abuse support system in West Norfolk at all and there was such a need.
“Our clients do get the lightbulb moment when they see it written down in black and white.
“It’s really powerful and they become themselves, but doing our programme they realise it can’t be their fault and that is the biggest step to recovery.”
Pandora’s newly named Phoenix Project is also being funded by the PCC which offers specialist support, advocacy and advice to female indoor sex workers across Norfolk.
The project will also work closely with Norfolk Police to identify and support women who are victims of trafficking.