My mum didn’t give me any love and affection and I thought it was my fault, that I wasn’t good enough for anybody to care about me.

Rosa, 17

Rosa is 17 years old. Her mother is an alcoholic who regularly slapped and punched her. She used to enjoy happy family Christmases when she was little. But then, over the years, her mum began to drink more and more. One Christmas morning a few years ago, Rosa scurried downstairs to open her presents, only to find that in a drunken haze her mum had already ripped them open. Last year, Rosa’s mother and grandmother seriously assaulted her and she had to leave home.

Rosa moved in with her boyfriend but, tragically, he physically and emotionally abused her too. After one savage beating, Rosa even attempted suicide. Rosa had nowhere to live and felt desperately alone. After leaving her abusive ex-boyfriend, Rosa was put into an all-age hostel, which was completely unsuitable.

Rosa now lives at the YMCA and is getting the support she desperately needs. She is still coming to terms with what she’s been through, but she is safe. She can lock her door at night and nobody can hurt her.

With her key worker’s support, Rosa is now feeling positive about the future: “It was hard to talk to my mum. I’d feel nervous and uncomfortable because I never knew how she’d react. But I can talk to my keyworker about anything. I trust her. The people at YMCA are like family. This is home now.”

Rosa is now working towards her A Levels and hopes to study law at university. While she needs further support to completely move on from what she’s been through, she no longer fears what each new day will bring.