How trauma affected me and my life 

 

 

 

This is a summary of past trauma experiences and the affect they had, not an autobiography of my life. I decided to write it so I wouldn't have to keep reminding myself about traumatic events I've been through when people ask, in the future I will just direct people here and hopefully it explains where I'm coming from. I have an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) score of 4. 

 

I was emotionally, physically and psychologically abused by my father throughout my childhood, I can't remember a time when he wasn't abusive. My mother divorced my father when I was 13, but left me with him and he made my life a living hell. As well as regular beatings I was made to take on my mother's domestic duties and he'd treat me like his own personal servant. I fell behind at school and started to misbehave, eventually being expelled. My father made me frightened of him as a form of control, he enjoyed scaring me. He'd plan ways to scare me and act them out, for example he'd wake me up in the middle of the night by scratching on my bedroom door while whispering my name or come into my room and put a torch under his face to look like a ghost. I'd take the dog for a walk in the evenings and he'd hide behind bushes or cars and jump out at me. This is a short summary, I could go on as there were so many incidents. I started to self medicate with alcohol from the age of 13 to help me cope with the abuse (this continued into adulthood, any time I was going through a stressful period I'd self medicate with alcohol). Eventually my mother bought a house, I moved in for a while, but didn't get along due to losing respect for her for abandoning me. I then moved in with maternal grandparents and at 16 years old moved out and lived on my own.


As an adult I have trust issues, avoidant traits and negative thinking patterns, often I'll have a feeling of impending doom expecting something to go wrong. I've not been able to develop normal relationships with people and I'm quite reclusive. I've been estranged from my family for 18 years, I feel staying away benefits us all as we rarely ever got along. I've had three short term relationships, but none lasted more than a year. In between I've had casual relationships. I tend to get hurt, spend quite a few years single then decide to give someone else a try thinking it might be different. Most of the time I'm on my own as I can't make friends easily.

I moved to London in 2004, a short term relationship brought me down and I decided to stay when it ended as I had no reason to go back to Manchester being estranged from my family. The ex punched me in the face and broke my nose during an argument, I had an operation to repair the damage. I forgave him and was expecting to stay living with him and continue to rent the flat together, but he took me by surprise and at very short notice changed his mind. I didn't have enough money to pay rent for a two bedroom flat on my own and didn't have enough time to find another flatmate, so I ended up homeless. I lived in a hostel for six months while saving and borrowing money from the local council for a deposit. I spent some time in houseshares, after periods of unemployment and holding a few different jobs I was in a position to consider renting a place of my own. I chatted to a guy on an online dating site and met him in a pub the same night, we both had too much to drink, I invited him back to my place and he raped me, every single person's greatest fear came true for me that night. Due to alcohol I made a poor judgement inviting a total stranger home, it affected me for a few months, I focused on the fact that it was a form of control and I eventually put it to the back of my mind and moved on with my life. Things started to improve, I worked for a time with the DWP and rented a flat in West Dulwich for six years from a wonderful landlady who over the years I regarded more as a friend because she was so nice.

In 2013 I moved to South Korea to be with my then partner who was teaching English there. My partner started beating me up during arguments, I had nowhere to go, so I moved back to the UK. I stayed with an acquaintance in Basingstoke while looking for a flat in London, we had a casual relationship some years previously. The acquaintance started sexually harassing me, so I quickly found a studio flat in East Acton (it wasn't great, but I thought it would do for the time being). I befriended a neighbour who was having difficulty with cockroaches in his flat, I helped him get rid of them and went round later for a drink, I blacked out and woke up with him attempting to have sex with me. The neighbour was also extremely antisocial having parties and letting criminal friends of his just out of Wormwood Scrubs use his place as a halfway house. Acton Police and Ealing Council couldn't do anything because tenants in private lettings have no rights in regards to antisocial neighbours. The dodgy landlord didn't care as long as he was getting rent from the neighbour, he didn't put my deposit into a rent protection scheme and refused to give my deposit back if I left the tenancy early.

I felt trapped and fearful all the time, self medicated with alcohol. I felt like I was being driven mad and the alcohol made me suffer from delusions. I was arrested and charged with harassment for emailing a police officer, but a police sergeant I was also emailing did not disclose emails to interviewing officers or to the CPS that suggested I should contact the police officer when I left the area, due to emails from the sergeant they encouraged me to keep emailing.

The sergeant knew that I was self medicating with alcohol and it was affecting my mental health, the police officer sent my GP a pre-assessment mental health form one month before I was arrested, sadly I was never contacted by that GP and found out about the form when I moved and registered with another GP. I didn't tell people I knew about my circumstances and due to being estranged from my family I had no-one close noticing my behaviour apart from the police, if I had received notification from my GP it would have shocked me into realising my behaviour.

The sergeant decided that he wanted to teach me a lesson, even though he was aware that I was having mental health problems, which is discrimination and an abuse of power. He conspired with other officers to change what I was being charged with to gain a conviction, after I signed for the charge sheet it was edited 45 minutes later. The sergeant also edited an email I sent to make it look malicious to gain a conviction and presented the edited email in court. I have all the evidence to back up what I have said and can present it at anytime for interested parties. I requested CCTV and emails from the Met Police Information Unit, the Met Police complaints department refused to look at the evidence and the IPCC followed rules which made it difficult for a full investigation to take place and did not look at the evidence either. Members of the public are denied getting justice, even when they have clear evidence.

Due to being of previous good character the stress from being arrested, charged and convicted made me self medicate with alcohol even more and over the space of a year I lost everything and hit rock bottom. I ended up living in hostels and supported housing.

While living in supported housing owned by Kairos Community Trust I was knocked down by a car, a broken finger and head injuries. The accident exacerbated my mental health issues and I developed PTSD symptoms, the manager and other staff were aware of my accident and were monitoring me. Due to having an anxiety disorder and avoidant traits I failed to attend two house meetings, but gave notice beforehand. The support worker arranged a meeting with me and said that he didn't want to deal with people like me and told me that I had to leave the house. Kairos Community Trust offered to move me to another house, I explained that it wouldn't be beneficial for me to move as I was awaiting news after being assessed for counselling. Moving me out of the area would mean that I would have to start the referral process all over again which could mean waiting for at least another three months. Kairos Community Trust evicted me stating untruthfully in documents that I refused to move and that I was being disruptive. This also shows Kairos Community Trust put the needs of support workers above the needs of vulnerable adults in their care, it is the vulnerable adults who have their lives disrupted and forced to move.

 

After being evicted Lewisham Council put me in a hostel ran by another housing charity called Foundation 66 whose parent company is Phoenix Futures. The hostel rooms were filthy, stains on the walls and carpets smelling of urine. The support worker told me not to worry about the state of my room and to focus on it being a temporary stay.


During my time at the hostel another client tried to blackmail me, he was having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old boy and he knew that I was aware of this. When I refused to be blackmailed by him he accused me of saying racist and homophobic words to him in the kitchen. There was a witness (a black man) who stated to members of staff that I didn't say anything racist or homophobic. The manager refused to give the client a warning, even though false accusations of racism and homophobia are illegal and even though the manager had previously given warnings to other clients for actual racism in the past. I made a complaint to Phoenix Futures head office about it and they ignored the fact that it was discrimination and did not discipline the manager. The letter I received from the Head of Housing implied that there was some truth to the false accusations of racism and homophobia. The manager and/or the Head of Housing had tried to cover up for discriminating against me by omitting the fact that there was a witness. I appealed to the CEO of Phoenix Futures who also ignored the fact that there was a witness, I even sent her details of my ex partner if she wanted to verify my sexuality and with all the evidence I provided she did not  discipline the manager at all. An abuse of power and position against a vulnerable adult in their care.

 

I referred myself back to Lewisham Council and had to be reassessed by their homeless department to see if I still qualified as a vulnerable adult, even though nothing in my circumstances changed, only that I no longer wanted to engage with Foundation 66 staff. I then had to wait for accommodation to be available with another housing charity, SHP.

 

Any rogue landlord can register as a charity and run hostels and supported housing unregulated and unchallenged. It's often assumed that the Charity Commission regulate hostels and supported housing, but they don't get involved in the day to day running of charities and therefore don't regulate them. Another public body, the Care Quality Commission remit is services covered by the Care Act and hostel and supported housing aren't covered by the Care Act. 

 

I complained to Lewisham Council about the discrimination I had faced with housing charities operating in their borough. Foundation 66 have a contract with Lewisham Council, but Lewisham Council stated that they couldn't do anything about it as they leave complaints for Foundation 66 to deal with, even though Foundation 66 and Phoenix Futures ignored the fact that I had been racially discriminated against and the complaints procedure was not fair or impartial. Lewisham Council are now currently investigating my complaints after I contacted local councillors, my local MP and Lewisham Council's own acting CEO.

 

Lewisham Council don't have a contract with Kairos Community Trust, they thanked me for highlighting the fact that Kairos Community Trust run supported housing unchallenged and unregulated. Lewisham Council said it was an important discovery and that they would be informing other local authorities of my findings.


I've now been abstinent from alcohol for two years, slowly building my life back together. I was assessed for counselling, having complex needs I received psychotherapy instead which was beneficial. I'm now living in a studio flat belonging to housing charity SHP, which is part of Lewisham Council's move on to independent living programme. SHP staff have been excellent and in about three weeks I should move into a flat of my own. I feel in a good place mentally and why I want to highlight the problems I have faced since returning from South Korea - a series of systemic failures by different authorities and how I have suffered discrimination.


Because I was discriminated against by two housing charities I decided that I would try to do something about the blatant flouting of discrimination laws and substandard conditions, not just for myself, but for others who for many reasons are unable to do so. I have started a campaign to get hostels and supported housing regulated as they aren't at the moment and why housing charities can take advantage of the lack of regulation by ignoring Equality Act laws and allowing hostels and supported housing to descend into substandard conditions because they aren't accountable to anyone.

 

I tried peer mentoring and volunteering face to face, but I tend to overemphasize. Listening to homeless people and people with substance misuse issues tell me about traumatic events in their lives caused my anxiety to become worse and was unhealthy for me. By campaigning for regulation of hostels and supported housing I'm still helping.


The psychotherapy I received really helped me overcome a lot of my issues, that along with my continued abstinence from alcohol means I've started to see a brighter future for myself. Due to spending a lot of time in my past being reclusive I'm hoping to become less so in the future and to make new friends and reconnect with old ones. I hope that I'm not sat inside on my own for too long.



                                    Christopher

 

 

 

When homeless people are finally placed in temporary accommodation their problems don't end: Substandard conditions, no legal rights, bullying behaviour and discrimination by staff - no independent public body to complain to. Please sign this petition - regulate hostels and supported housing. Thanks. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/215743