Women’s Case Study – *Saffy's story

Saffy was referred to the CATE project by Azalea in Luton who work with vulnerable women who sex work and women who have or are experiencing domestic abuse. Saffy’s domestic abuse is historic, and she was referred for support regarding her mental health and unsuitable housing,

Saffy is vulnerable as she is involved in a relationship with a substance misuser of heroin and crack cocaine. She has been known to sex work to fund her partner’s drug use, although she is not a substance misuser.

Saffy has been engaging well with staff for the last few months and has said that she appreciates the support provided to her as she struggles to trust people. She finds it easy to engage with her case worker who doesn’t judge her or tell her what to do but offers support and help when it is needed.

Saffy suffers with OCD and Acute anxiety and lived in the Hilton Hotel where she struggled. The windows did not open, and this is a big trigger for her with her anxiety. She disclosed to her case worker that she would sometimes sleep on the street to avoid going back to the hotel. Her case worker has liaised with the housing solutions team at Luton Borough Council (LBC)about the vulnerabilities around her mental health and the importance of her to be moved to an accommodation where she feels safe since being on the streets makes her very vulnerable and at higher risk.

The housing solutions team asked Saffy to stay in the Hilton for that weekend as they worked to find her accommodation the following Monday. This was not achieved on the Monday as promised but her case worker continues to liaise with LBC as they tried to find her long-term accommodation.

Saffy was supported during this time with regular meetings and phone calls and visits to the office. She was eventually offered council accommodation one week after initially promised. She has a five-year lease and is very happy with the property.

Saffy still needs support and wants to continue to engage with her case worker for ongoing support as she is still with her substance misusing partner who does not engage with drug services even though she has tried to advise him to do so. She states that he is becoming very paranoid, and she has noticed a decline in his mental health. He has become aggressive to people on the street, although not towards her, which the case worker cannot verify.

Saffy says that she is no longer sex working to fund his habit. But she was seen by her case worker with a cup begging for money for her partner out on the streets in Luton.

Partnership working with Azalea continues to help minimise the risk to Saffy and support her mental health issues. She engages well with services weekly continues to receive support to reduce the risks to her.

Saffy remains grateful for the ongoing support she receives and expressed this by bringing balloon and thank you card to the Penrose offices for her caseworker.

  * Saffy’s real name has been changed to protect her identity.