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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Domestic abuse - a survivor's story


As we surpass 125 organisations signed up to our Make a Stand pledge, Alliance Homes, one of our pledge signatories, shared this poem from a survivor who received support and Alex Gutsell outlines the organisation's work.

A poem written by a survivor of Key to Change - a programme to help survivors of domestic abuse.

I am a seedling.

I have been lying dormant for many years.

Letting the trees and flowers grow around me and their roots overcome me.

My sunlight and water have been shared without me having enough to grow from my sleepy existence.

I am seedling.

I’ve broken free and in to the sunlight. I’ve woken up from a dormant sleep from where I resigned myself to be.

I’ve found water that is being showered on to me and the warmth of the sun.

I am a seedling.

I’ve made the first step. I’m through the soil and in to the light.

It’s bright and scary as I’m so small and vulnerable.

But I will grow everyday just a little more.

Some days the wind may blow off a flower or even a branch but I will sprout a new one bigger and stronger.

I will grow.

My colours are not known yet and my height and shape not determined.

But I will grow.

I have found light. I have found water. I am a seedling but one day soon I will be a flower.

Alliance Homes contract manager Alex Gutsell explains the organisation's services.

Alliance Homes Group is proud to be one of the first organisations to have joined the CIH #makeastand campaign.

Domestic Abuse is a challenging topic yet most people are touched by the effects of it in some way, be it personally or professionally.

As an organisation we are already committed to supporting people who experience Domestic Abuse, have survived it or, are at risk of it. We provide a range of pattern changing behaviour training programmes, designed to support people to escape the cycle of abuse:

Breaking the Chains – For those currently in an abusive relationship

Key to Change – For survivors of Domestic Abuse

My Kids and Me – Looking at parenting and the impact of domestic abuse on children and families

Domestic Abuse Awareness Training – for professionals working with people experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse

We already have a lot in place to support awareness of Domestic Abuse, however as the largest housing provider in North Somerset we can’t afford to be complacent, incidents of domestic abuse are high (in 2017/18 the police recorded 3,855 domestic abuse occurrences, an increase of 6% from 2016/17).

Making this pledge provides us with a great opportunity to review, refresh and update our offer to customers and colleagues alike, with the added benefits of showcasing what we are doing locally and nationally. I would encourage all providers to #makeastand as together we can make a powerful difference to those living in our homes and communities.

Alex Gutsell is contract manager at Alliance Homes.

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