In an attempt to raise vital funds for the charity which ‘saved’ her life, a victim of domestic abuse plans to jump 10,000 feet out of a plane.
Despite being ‘terrified of heights’, 26-year-old Georgie Newman, from Selsey, will face her fears in aid of Sussex-based charity RISE UK on May 31, with her best friend Imogen Cameron.
Georgie said: “RISE offers round the clock support to both men and women in need or at risk of domestic violence. RISE educates those affected by domestic violence to support a healthy and happy future, and to allow these people to move on.
"My son Lucas and I fled domestic violence in 2014. We were supported by multiple charities and refuges but found ourselves long-term in a RISE refuge on the south coast where we finally felt safe and were able to rebuild our lives.
“The refuge provided us with a safe roof over our heads, food, clothes, household basics and essentials, counselling and general help and support to be able to start again. Fleeing only days before Lucas’ first birthday, the refuge provided him with a birthday party and gifts.
"They supported us through Christmas in the same way with all of the workers always going above and beyond to support us. I wouldn’t have known where to start without them."
Georgie wanted fellow victims of domestic abuse to know that ‘leaving everything you’ve got isn’t always the worst decision’.
She added: “There are charities out there. You don’t actually have to stay in your house. The hardest thing for me was that I had my own house in my name. I didn’t want to be left with nothing and make myself and my son homeless. You may have a house and your children may be at school but actually it’s about the safety of you and your children.
“The refuge did everything and there were women there who were later rehoused. They send you out the area but you can still visit friends and family and they can visit you.
“I met many life friends in the refuge, people from all backgrounds, with and without children, going through the same situation.They help children back into education, securing places in schools and helping with books and uniforms. Some of them have spent years out of education as it wasn’t safe.
"I am now engaged to my new partner Tom [Benham] and I have a son [Hugo, 2] in the new relationship, which shows it is possible to go on and live a normal life.
"These refuges are supporting many women and it’s about keeping them running as they only run on donations. RISE also work with men. It’s not just female domestic abuse but they haven’t got the funding for a men’s refuge. They do provide the emotional and practical support."
Georgie also pointed out some early warning signs of domestic abuse.
She said: "You see younger ladies in relationships where there are signs of emotional abuse where neither of them can see that.
"People are not aware of some of the warning signs, the emotional controlling of the money, stopping you going out with friends for a drink at the weekend. I see it a lot and it can escalate from that.
"I try to say that’s not right and say you should be in control of yourself. I just want to raise awareness that there are places that women can go to make them safe."
Georgie aims to raise funds to help refuges carry on providing vital support.
“Soon there will not be enough support because they don’t get the funding for it,” she said.
"I raised over £120 back in January for Women’s Aid, who are a more nation-wide charity, and, last year, I tried to raise awareness of the petitions going around to stop the cuts to the funding.
“[The thinking behind] the plane jump was that I wanted to do the most extravagant thing that people will sponsor me for. I am terrified of heights. People know that I would never want to jump out of a plane. I couldn’t think of a better way to say thank you than raising money to support another family.
“Please help me reach my goal by making a donation, no matter how big or small, to continue this ongoing amazing work that saves the lives of so many.”