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Sarah, Free Legal Advice Centre

After 32 years of marriage, Sarah’s husband threw her out of their family home. With nowhere else to turn, she ended up in a women’s refuge. Even though Sarah had been the victim of domestic abuse, she was still hopeful that her situation was temporary and that soon she would be able to go back home.

This was not the case. Sarah’s husband began a vendetta against her and began sabotaging her work as well as her home life. He stole some confidential letters from the healthcare centre where Sarah worked and lied about a serious health condition to get her in trouble. Once these came to light Sarah was suspended from her job for four months while she was investigated and was eventually dismissed. She had worked there for 23 years.

After receiving no help from her Union, Sarah came to Toynbee Hall for help. One of our advisers worked with Sarah to rebuild her life. They helped her get a car loan, wrote to her Trade Union and then helped with an industrial tribunal where she was awarded a settlement of over £40,000.

I have gained everything by going to Toynbee Hall. I had lost my marriage, my job, my self-respect. Everything. But due to the support from them, I regained my self-respect and my self-esteem. I don’t know what I would have done. I wouldn’t be here today without them – that’s for sure.The moment I spoke to an adviser at Toynbee Hall they believed me and didn’t doubt me. One advisor gave me lots of moral support and the other solved all my problems. They changed my life. They took me out of the darkest place in my life.”

*The names of all individuals have been changed to protect their identities.