The Wish Centre, a domestic abuse charity in Blackburn, has provided a vital lifeline for Key Crawford, a woman who suffered severe physical abuse and psychological torment at the hands of her ex-partner. Crawford credits the Centre with having saved her life by offering a refuge, counselling and mental health support. Like many others in the borough, she has benefited from the services the Centre provides, which has seen demand for mental health support rise by more than 200% in recent years. 
During her previous relationships, Crawford experienced domestic violence as well as coercive control, during which she was compelled to live in a constant state of fear and anxiety. She recounted how arguing over pasta resulted in her being burnt by boiling water, and she was frequently physically assaulted if she answered back. In one extreme incident, her ex-partner tried to strangle her after she discovered he had been exchanging messages with another woman. Though she managed to escape, she suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD). 

For Crawford, The Wish Centre offered her a safe haven, counselling and support. Its growth since it was established in 1988 has been impressive: after initially catering for women in Blackburn, it extended its support to include male victims as well as perpetrators in 2014. And thanks to a grant from the National Lottery, the Centre will employ a counselling co-ordinator, mental health independent domestic violence advocate (IDVA), and a wellbeing practitioner. 
Survivors seeking help are already in a safe environment, making it likely that the “natural progression” to seeking help from a Wish counsellor will be more comfortable than in other circumstances, according to Rebekah Wilson, the centre’s training manager. She believes that by the time survivors are referred to the Centre, they have developed a level of trust that is fundamental to their recovery. 
Crawford remains effusive about the Centre’s impact on her life. Without its intervention, she concludes, “I wouldn’t be here.” 
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