"My name is Rubina* and I am from Pakistan, I came to the UK 4 years ago to be with my husband after an arranged marriage. When I came to live with my husband we moved into his family’s home, which we shared with them.
My husband was physically, financially and verbally abusive towards me as was his family. After a year my daughter was born, and I thought situation would change. But it did not.
I was scared to talk to anybody about it. I was told if I report they will keep my daughter and send me back to Pakistan. I was scared to lose my daughter. I spoke to my family in Pakistan, but they did not want to help me. The abuse was getting worse.
Last year, he came home and started hitting me. I screamed for help and my neighbour called the police. When they arrived, I could not give a statement because of language barrier. Next day they came with interpreter. For the first time I was able to talk to someone without his family being there.
The police put me in touch with FCWA, the worker was very helpful she gave me information about service available. She took me to an immigration solicitor, so that I could understand my rights and explore the options available.
It took a while to make the decision and finally, I decided to leave. My IDVA worker arranged a refuge space for me and my daughter. They helped me to get permanent residency, I am no longer dependant on him. She also helped me to get access to benefits and now I have my own money.
My English was not good. The worker helped me to enrol with an ESOL class and I started learning English. I am getting back my confidence.
A few months ago, I was not able to go anywhere on my own but know I am free. I can do my own shopping, I can attend appointments on my own and I started taking control. Thanks to FCWA for giving us a safe and independent life."
*Rubina’s name has been changed to protect her identity. She has given consent for her story to be used to help others.