There for You: domestic violence

UNISON offered a lifeline for a member who felt a prisoner in her own home

Six months ago life for UNISON member Carla Robinson was at an all-time low, as she and her children felt imprisoned living with her abusive and controlling husband.

“I didn’t feel we would ever escape,” she recalls. “I didn’t have any savings at all. I just seemed to be working all the time. I never had enough for a holiday for the children, or even clothes for them at times.”

At her wits’ end, Carla turned to her UNISON steward who advised her to apply for help from There For You, the union’s charity. That application was successful and the hardship grant she received has paid for a deposit on a new place to live and some furniture.

But more that that, There for You has changed Carla’s life.

“We now live in a home where there is laughter and happiness and the children are doing well at school. There is no more sadness, no more arguments and anger. Without your [UNISON’s] generosity we would still be in an abusive environment at our old address.

“You have given me the strength and courage to be happy again. The future for the four of us is looking good.

“I didn’t realise that, being a member of UNISON, a fund was available for me and for the hundreds of other families who have gone through what I have been through, and for that I am truly grateful.”

If, like Carla (not her real name), you are struggling through an unexpected crisis, or if the pressures of everyday life are getting to you, There for You can help.

There for You is a unique confidential advice and support service just for members of UNISON and their dependents. Whether you need just a chat and a sympathetic ear, or more concrete assistance, we may be able to help.

There for You offers:

  • financial help;
  • debt advice;
  • wellbeing breaks;
  • support and information.

To find out more, go to, email us at, write to us at UNISON There for You, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW12AY, or give us a ring on 202 7121 5620.

* Violence is a reality for many women living in the UK today. The Fawcett Society says that around three million women across the UK experience rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, forced marriage, trafficking, or other forms of violence each year.

The government has cut services for those suffering from domestic violence or abuse: 60% of refuge services and 75% of outreach services have had their funding cut since 2011. UNISON is campaigning against public service cuts because as well as affecting public service workers they could affect us all.

Mitch Howard

This article first appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of U magazine