Case Studies

Select each of the names to read the full case study:

Adrianna is 26, she originally comes from Poland but came to the UK 2 years ago. When she first arrived she was working as an Au pair for a family where she looked after their children and lived in the house with the family. After being here for a year, her employer lost her job and couldn’t afford to keep Adrianna on.

She managed to find part-time work in a local shop and shares a flat above the shop with some other women who come from Russia. Her boss and the landlord of the flat is called Max and they started a relationship shortly after Adrianna moved in. Max said he can help Adrianna get a better job and then they can move into their own place together. Adrianna doesn’t see Max much – he is out a lot and, when he is in the shop, he takes lots of calls on his mobile where he talks in Russian. Adrianna feels isolated and she misses her family and also misses the family she worked for.

Max said he had found her another Au-Pair job with a family but, when Adrianna went along with Max for a visit, there were no children in the house – only men. Max said if Adrianna had sex with one of the men he would give her a good job looking after children. Adrianna refused but Max said she must do it – if she didn’t he would make her leave her job and the flat.

Adrianna doesn’t know anyone else in the area and would have no where else to live. Max also threatened to tell other shop owners in the area not to employ Adrianna. Adrianna still refused to have sex with the man.

When she and Max went back to the flat, he said she had disappointed him and needed to be punished. He locked her in her room for 3 days. When he finally let her out he said she must do what he said or he would have her killed. Max said nobody would miss her. Adrianna was really scared so she agreed, hoping that the promise of a new job with a family was true then she would be free of Max.

Max offered her some drugs – he said it would make her forget what was happening and would make her feel better. Adrianna took the drugs and had sex with the man. Afterwards she asked Max if she could now meet the family at her new job. Max said they had changed their mind, but he knew someone else that was looking for a nanny and he would arrange a meeting. Again, Max said that Adrianna must have sex with the man to get the job and gave her drugs again which he said would help her.

Adrianna felt scared and trapped – she had no money as Max stopped paying her for working in the shop. He takes her back to the flat after work or after taking her to have sex with someone and he locks her in. He says if she is good she will be allowed out of her room like the other girls.

He gives her drugs that make her feel drowsy and sometimes she can’t remember what happened the day before.

A few days ago the Police raided the flat in the middle of the night. They found Adrianna locked in the bedroom but she pretended she was okay, she was scared the police would arrest her. The officers recognised that Adrianna needed help and took her to the police station. They had an interpreter who spoke to her in Polish to ask what had been happening. Adrianna said she was scared of what Max would do to her if she spoke to the police. She said he is still her boyfriend and she should do what he wants to make him happy.

The police helped Adrianna to see that what Max is doing to her is abuse. She finally understood that, if Max really loved her too, he wouldn’t make her have sex with other men and wouldn’t threaten her. She realised Max was taking money from the men who were having sex with her. The police put her in touch with the local Domestic Violence Advisory Service and they helped Adrianna to find somewhere safe to stay. She is hoping to study to get some child care qualifications so she can get a job working with children.

Carly is 15, she has been going out with Mark, 19, for 6 months. Her parents don’t approve of the relationship and nor do her friends.

She is a prefect at school and is expected to do very well academically.

In the beginning, Mark was really nice to Carly and bought her expensive presents and gorgeous clothes. He has a car so they can go out all the time and he takes her to a pub where she can get served alcohol. Mark never really liked to hang out with her friends because they are so young and he says he doesn’t have anything in common with them.

In the last few months he has become increasingly possessive of Carly. Last week he held her by the throat and spat in her face when she said she was going out with her friends at the weekend. Her friend Karen has said that she should dump him because he is a control freak but she doesn’t want to.

Kelly, 14, was referred via a learning mentor at her school. She was referred there because she has been feeling ‘low’ and her teacher was worried about her.

Kelly has a difficult relationship with her mum who has some problematic drinking issues. She has recently started seeing an ex student of the school, James, who is a couple of years older than her. She told the learning mentor that he is very controlling and tells her what to do all the time but she doesn’t want to split up from him because her friends think it is really cool that she is seeing someone older.

It is the first ‘proper’ boyfriend Kelly has had. During her first visit to the Young Persons IDVA, Kelly says that she is worried that this might be a fuss about nothing. It is true that James gets stressed but she doesn’t think this is domestic violence? He is quite angry a lot of the time but he has a boss who is always getting at him and this doesn’t help. The IDVA asks her if she is having sex with James and she says she is.

When asked how this is for her she says, with some encouragement, that he pressured her to start having sex and she would have preferred to have waited a bit but when she talked to her best friend about this, she said you had to expect that with an older boyfriend.

She explains that things have been getting worse recently and she is beginning to feel like she can’t say no even if she wants to.

She agrees to sex because she is frightened he won’t want to go out with her if she doesn’t but she feels humiliated afterwards.

She says that she knows that things need to change but doesn’t really know how.

Mary is 35 and was diagnosed with a learning disability as a child. She lived at home with her parents until she was 25 then moved into supported accommodation where she lived with two other women with learning disabilities in a house.

When she was 27, Mary started doing some volunteer work at a café near her house. While working at the café, she got talking to a man that visited regularly – he also had a learning disability but lived independently in his own flat. They began a relationship and, 18 months later, they got married. Mary moved into her husband’s flat. They were keen to have children and, when she was 29, Mary gave birth to a daughter.

Since she first started going out with her husband, he liked to be in control. He didn’t like it when she talked to other men when she was working at the café and would often sit in the café watching her. He said he was just keeping an eye on her because he was worried about her. Mary felt protected. But after a while Mary’s boss said she was unhappy because Mary was talking to her boyfriend when she should have been working.

Other things had started to change too – he liked her to wear her hair in a certain way and to wear certain clothes. After they got married, he told Mary she should give up volunteering at the café as he wanted to look after her all the time. Mary agreed because she felt it meant he loved her very much.

When their daughter arrived, Mary wanted to take her out to mother and baby groups so she could meet other mothers. She found she needed more support and wanted to talk to people about how best to look after the baby. Her husband said she didn’t need to go out and he would provide everything she needed.

Soon, Mary found that even going to the shops on her own made her husband angry – he said she should stay at home where he could keep an eye on her and that bad things might happen to her if she was out on her own.

Mary said she wanted to speak to her social worker about the best things for the baby. Her husband said she mustn’t do this – he said if she did, the baby would be taken away from them.

Mary felt like she wasn’t happy anymore and she wanted to move away with her baby. Her husband said she couldn’t leave, he said that social workers wouldn’t let her take the baby with her because she wasn’t able to look after him. He said she needed to stay with him because he was the only one capable of looking after them.

One day, when her husband was at work, Mary visited the café where she used to work. Her old boss said she had been worried because she hadn’t seen her for a long time. Mary told her boss what was happening at home and that she was scared. Mary’s boss had the details for Mary’s social worker so she called her while Mary was with her and told her that Mary was worried and scared.

Mary’s social worker arranged to visit Mary when her husband was at work. With her social workers’ support, Mary moved into a supported living house with her baby. With support from care staff and her social worker she was able to look after her daughter mostly on her own. Her daughter is now 6 and is doing really well at school and Mary is very proud of her. Mary is also proud that she was able to get away from her husband and give herself and her daughter a better life. Her old boss from the café helped her to get a job at a different café where she is paid and this makes her feel more independent.

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