When you can’t rely on your family, where do you go?

09 December 2008

Nadine lived in a house in Manchester with her mum, her stepfather and her big sister. One day, Nadine’s mum got cancer. The cancer made her mum do things she wouldn’t normally do. She was scared. She started to hurt her family. She took this feeling out on her children.

Nadine was kicked, punched and pushed down the stairs. Her sister did nothing. Her stepfather did nothing. Nadine felt frightened. Her mum began losing control. Her sister began taking control.

Now, it was her sister who would kick, punch and push Nadine down the stairs. Still her stepfather did nothing. Nadine felt worthless. Her self-esteem was low. She started to not eat. She started to cut her arms. Gradually she started to feel more in control.

Still she was kicked and punched and pushed down the stairs. Still she ate less and cut more.

One day, she started to take pills. A little at first, then more until she lost consciousness. Her life was getting really bad. Nadine had runaway from home in the past and was in danger of using the streets as a solution again.

Nadine’s school referred her to The Children’s Society’s Safe in the City Project.

With our help, she opened up and talked about her increasingly volatile home environment. She felt that she was in a vicious circle of harm. Her sister and mother’s violence led her to self-harm and her feeling that she’d be better off on the street.

Things would get better, and then an argument would lead to Nadine cutting so deep she ended up in hospital.

We helped Nadine move into a safe house with people she knew. We talked her through the problems she was experiencing and supported her in the decisions she took to take make them better. She continued to see her family and together they have started to rebuild their relationships.

Nadine’s not all better yet but she’s trying and she wants her life to improve. Most importantly so do her family. They’re now trying to help each other.

The Children’s Society Safe in the City Project makes childhood better by helping children at risk of being on the streets and those already on the streets to take back control of their own life.