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As a teenager Jo was forced to leave home, where she was suffering emotional and sexual abuse.
“When I was 18 I went to university. I had been living at home with my mum, my younger brothers and my stepdad. However, my stepdad was quite abusive, it was emotional and sexual abuse. I was literally trying to be out of the house all the time.
I got to the point where I thought ‘I can’t do this anymore’. I reported the abuse to the police. It made things really difficult at home and my relationship with my mum deteriorated. I tried to go back home, but it didn’t work out. My mum said my stepdad would always be there and I should just go, leave.
I had to go and live with a friend, and we had to share a bed. I completed two years of the degree course but at uni my mental health was a mess. I found it hard to concentrate, to focus.
After that I was living with another friend, who had a pull-out sofa bed. I was living on Universal Credit and spending the days job hunting. When the pandemic started, I could no longer stay with my friend so I got in contact with Nightstop.
If I hadn’t got help from Nightstop, I would have had to sleep rough. I was really nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. I was sent in a taxi to the address. They were so nice. I couldn’t believe it. I texted my friend saying I didn’t think people could be this nice. I got there, we had dinner at 6pm, together. That night I slept really well.
I stayed with Nightstop hosts for three weeks and they were all so welcoming. I got to meet their families, go for walks in the countryside. They were so welcoming and understanding and always made sure I had what I needed. It gave me time to sort things out and during that time Depaul helped me get into a longer-term women’s hostel where I felt safe. I’m trying to get a job and then I want to get my own place.
Without Nightstop I literally would have been on the streets.”
Nightstop UK is a national network of trained and vetted volunteer hosts who open their doors to young people. When we refer a young person to Nightstop, they are in crisis, often facing a night on the street.
Depaul UK also provide tailored, longer term support and housing to help young people get their lives back on track.