Rebuilding lives: Plasterer fixes homes of domestic abuse survivors for free

·2-min read

A plasterer has volunteered her time and skills to help makeover the homes of people who have suffered abusive relationships.

Naima Ben-Moussa's mission was to help others "rebuild" their lives - so she launched an online fundraiser to help cover the cost of materials.

Having suffered abuse as a child, Ms Ben-Moussa said she "understood" what these women had gone through.

The 36-year-old, from Buxton in Derbyshire, said: "I've had to try and carry on, and I don't think I would have been able to without my support network around me.

"People are feeling even more isolated during the pandemic, and between us all we need to try and stand together and help each other.

"People are struggling to even afford to live at the moment, let alone fix the damages from relationships that have gone wrong, or have involved violence."

Ms Ben-Moussa, who runs the Lady in Red Plastering Service, says her inspiration for the project came after she helped fix up the home of a woman who had just left an abusive relationship.

"I walked into her home and saw the mess a man had left her in. For 10 years she had suffered horrific abuse," she said.

The woman told her one assault had lasted for four hours.

"My heart broke. But when she was stood in front of me, I saw her strength. In fact, my hair stood on end just being in her company.

"She is a survivor, a warrior princess," she said.

The fund-raiser is already more than a third of the way towards reaching her £10,000 target, and she is giving two days a week of her time for free to do the renovations.

The money will also be used to improve home security if needed so that survivors feel they have a safe space to live in.

Pressures from the coronavirus pandemic have heightened the risk of domestic abuse, with a record number of cases being dealt with by the family courts.

One in five offences - more than a quarter of a million - recorded by police during and immediately after the first national lockdown in England and Wales involved domestic abuse, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Ms Ben-Moussa is also appealing for anyone who could give free legal advice to survivors of domestic abuse to get in touch and support the campaign.