Working as a Domestic Violence & Sanctuary Scheme Coordinator enables me to provide a specialist service that supports survivors of Domestic Abuse (DA) and offers a range of housing options depending on clients’ needs. I manage the Sanctuary Scheme which helps survivors of DA to remain in their homes if they choose to do so, our refuge “Minerva House” supports clients fleeing DA when they need to leave their previous addresses, as well as the ‘One-Stop-Shop’ that acts as a drop-in for DA survivors, where the survivors can receive advice and support from different professionals. I work strategically with a range of partner organisations to promote the domestic violence agenda and the Sanctuary Scheme and contributes to the reduction in the number of households going into in temporary accommodation.
Whilst living in my hometown, Palma, I became interested in working with the survivors of Domestic Abuse and undertook an internship that sparked my desire to work on this area and gave me a chance to develop my knowledge. After moving to Barnet in 2015, I was determined to find a way to carry on supporting DA survivors, so I went into Barnet House and gave my CV directly to the team. Luckily, they didn’t kick me out, and were impressed enough that they invited me for an interview.
I began volunteering three mornings a week at the ‘One-Stop-Shop’ and really enjoyed it. I could see the impact the program had and how it empowered and helped the survivors. It was such a rewarding role, seeing the smile on survivor’s faces and having them express so much gratitude for the support we offer. We provided protection and safety, helping individuals with a range of different needs.
Having enjoyed my time volunteering so much, I applied for a part-time role working at both the Sanctuary and the ‘One-Stop-Shop’ before progressing to the role I have now. To achieve this, I identified an area I wanted to learn about and set myself goals. I decided I wanted to make a real change to people’s lives, hence my first move was to start volunteering. I was really motivated because I was so passionate about supporting people who survived abuse. It is not easy to empathise and understand what these people going through, but I managed to learn to establish trust and respect to support them effectively.