Jessica came into safeguarding twice and was open to the team for a number of months. She was referred into safeguarding by her care agency. She has care and support needs, was experiencing neglect, domestic abuse and psychological and financial abuse from her partner.
This is her story...
I am Jessica and I am 80 years old. During the summer, I was helped by my support workers and safeguarding to move out of my house and into a bungalow after 40 years of abuse. I remember this experience as 'before Julie' and 'after Julie'.
Before I met Julie, I used to live with the “The Master”. I did not like it because he was bloody awful, because he was mean; he was “inspecting” all the time and used to tell me what to do. I was asked what I wanted and I wanted to move away, to have him gone.
I used to clean the windows and if I missed a bit he would tell me off. He used to make the support workers help me clean the windows and the kitchen. He used to put notes up telling me not to use his food. The police saw these notes when they visited once. The support workers were made to help me do the jobs before they could take me out.
The Master used to cancel my care and wanted to stop me going to the day centre, but he was using my money to pay for the care; it used to frustrate me. He bloody took my money. I did not see any of it. I did not know how much I had, it had gone. I knew I had savings accounts but could not get any money. He would spend the days counting out money but I did not have any access to it. I was allowed to have £10 every other day for my cigarettes but I was not allowed to smoke in the house, but I did when he wasn’t there! The Master used to tell me off about it.
Sometimes my support workers bought me a cup of tea with their own money, as I did not have any. He would shout at the carers as well as me.
I had friends before but they stopped coming to see me because of him - because “The Master” was very rude to them. He said no smoking in the house and told them to get out.
When Julie came to see me things started to change. Julie, an advocate and my support workers helped me. They spoke with The Master with an advocate and he threw my paperwork at them. He was angry. I still don’t have my birth certificate. A solicitor now helps with my money.
When I left my house, I was not allowed to take any photographs or my bed or wardrobes or chest of drawers. He let me have one cushion when I left. He wouldn’t even let me have a light bulb.
I live on my own and it is much better, I’m happier. I went shopping and bought furniture and new curtains. When I moved into my bungalow, my support workers helped me put towels up at the windows while we waited for the new curtains to come. Things are a lot better now but I was nervous. I am more satisfied now I’m settled into my bungalow. My money is now locked in a safe. I can take out £120 each week.
I have my hair done every two weeks, I have £10 every day to spend on cigarettes, and I go shopping to buy my own food. I don’t need to worry about bills as I have a solicitor and advocate who help me pay all the bills and speak to people for me. The police came and visited me to check on me every week; it was nice to see them. I felt safe.
The Master has not been to see me since I left and I have not seen him. I am pleased and I do not want to see him again.
My support workers helped me move, I have some alarms to keep me safe and I can press a button and someone answers me. I practice this with my support workers each week.
I like to put perfume on before I go to the day centre. It is much better now, I like living on my own, I have my own friends, and I can have a smoke with my neighbours.
I have visits four times a day now to ensure I am safe. I enjoy the visits they are very good, they ask me what I would like to do and I have choices, I have even been to the pub to watch the football and have a half of Guinness. I can sit outside and have a cigarette although there are sometimes louts there! I enjoy watching other people, and sometimes they are shouting and screaming at the TV. This makes me laugh.
I am much happier now, I am grateful and satisfied, I can do what I want now and it is more enjoyable. I am more in control.