Rachel's Journey through the justice system as told by an Oasis IDVA
Rachel was referred into the Oasis Court IDVA service for support around a court case involving her ex-partner. In her first call she said that her biggest problem was her ability to pay for housing; she was living in private rented accommodation on a joint tenancy with the perpetrator and now that he was no longer contributing to the rent she was unable to afford it. We discussed her options and Rachel applied for discretionary housing payments to support her rent payments for 3 months. She used this time to apply for jobs.
In her second call Rachel told me about concerns regarding the impact of what has happened on her children; her oldest child was going to school in a dress size too small for her. She was unable to take off her cardigan, even in the warm weather, as the dress did not zip up at the back
“With Rachel’s permission Oasis put a call out for a new uniform on social media. The response was incredible and we were able to provide a new uniform to Rachel as well as create a stock of uniforms for future need
Rachel was also concerned about her third daughter who was having night terrors. I liaised with Early Help who helped her to access psychological intervention for her daughter and also went to medical appointments for her daughter with her.
When Rachel started getting job interview offers she needed interview clothes; we arranged for her to go to the Oasis Shop as she did not have the money for clothes - she later said "I've just been down to the Oasis shop, I had no idea it was right on my doorstep. I've got a lovely suit and shoes to wear on Tuesday. I'm so grateful. Thank you so much"
When Rachel was offered a job that she described as her ‘dream career’ she took the decision to leave Kent and find accommodation elsewhere. With supporting letters from Oasis and Early Help, the new local council were able to provide support with access to housing benefit. She found new schools for her two oldest children and was able to access nursery places and funding for the two youngest.
Following the move there were several breaches of bail by the perpetrator. I liaised with witness care to ensure that Rachel could give evidence via live link and from an undisclosed location so that the perpetrator did not find out where she is now living. Ultimately Rachel did not have to give evidence as the perpetrator pleaded Guilty on the day of trial. She received outreach support from the CAB Witness Service and was able to obtain a restraining order which means she has a protective order into the future.
Rachel has been so focused over the last five months and has always been grateful for the support she has received so that she can make decisions about how to move forwards. She is thankful for the inter-agency working so that she does not have to keep updating each agency with what has been going on and now that the criminal case is over she has expressed thanks for the support she has received and feels that she has closure.