photo of a laptop, Inclusion is written on the screen

Stories of Digital Inclusion

In 2022 we developed a one-off funding initiative, the ‘Digital Inclusion Fund’. This was aimed at addressing digital exclusion experienced by disabled people and people with mental health challenges. One of the organisations that were awarded funding was Stroud Beresford Group. This was for a project to address mental health needs of women who are digitally-excluded and victims of domestic abuse. The aim of the  funding was ensure that women have suitable technology to help reduce isolation and enable access to vital safety and support services, including those relating to domestic abuse support, counselling and mental health support, finance, housing and legal help.

The following stories are real case studies from people who have benefited from the funding. Names and identifying details have been changed to protect their anonymity.


Molly was supported through our outreach service as she was experiencing post separation abuse from her ex-husband. Through our service we supported Molly with risk assessment, safety planning and helped her to understand her experiences of domestic abuse.

Following the finalisation of family court, Molly had to communicate with her ex-husband in relation to their children and contact arrangements. This left Molly vulnerable and open to further emotional harm through post separation abuse.

Molly’s ex-husband would often send multiple messages throughout the day via a parenting app, texts, and emails until she responded. As a result of this constant communication Molly found herself feeling overwhelmed and anxious and felt her mental health was being impacted. To support Molly with this we completed a safety plan and supported Molly to report the constant messages to the police.

The funding allowed us to provide Molly with a new phone so she could use this as her safe way of communicating with people she trusted. Molly was then able to use her old phone only as a child contact phone.  Molly could turn this phone off during the day, so she was able to fully focus on her job and parenting her children without being impacted by constant messages from her ex-husband. This enabled Molly to take some control of her day-to-day life and minimise the impact of the constant contact from her ex-husband.

Molly has now set aside time each week to turn the phone on and respond to the relevant messages from her ex-husband in relation to the children without it impacting her daily life and mental health.

Molly feels her daily life has improved as a result of this support as she was not in a financial position to purchase a separate phone for this purpose. Molly’s mental health has improved day to day and we continue to support her with safety, reporting to police as well as understanding her experience.


Amari and her 5 year old son were supported to come to refuge by their local Children’s Social Care Team. Amari was currently unable to apply for benefits for living costs or housing as she had no recourse to public funds, she needed specialist immigration support alongside support for her and her son to recover from their experiences of domestic abuse.

It was important for Amari to be able to access appointments with her solicitor in order for her gain the correct visa status for her to remain in the UK with her son. Amari needed to complete a statement with her solicitor, this was an in depth account of all of her experiences of the abuse that had occurred within the marriage to her husband. Amari had left home with her phone which did not have internet connectivity and she had no access to a laptop or tablet. We recognised that Amari needed the appropriate technology to be able to access this and other appointments without technical difficulties or old technology. Due to this funding we were able to provide Amari with both a phone and a tablet, the tablet was essential for solicitor appointments and for receiving essential document which she had to review.

The new phone was set up with Amari with a new safe number and assess to the internet so she could use this to communicate with her family.

Amari says she feels very lucky to have the technology she needs, Amari says the process of gaining her Indefinite Leave to Remain has been very difficult and she has had to talk in depth about the abuse she experienced but it has been made easier by having a new tablet which is fast and reliable.


Ann and her 8 year old daughter moved to refuge after Ann sustained injuries from her partner in a physical attack. Ann felt the abuse has escalated over the last year since she had gained employment and said she wanted to start college. When Ann moved to refuge she knew she didn’t want to give up her goal of attending the course she was due to start. Ann’s Support Worker supported Ann to identify any barriers to her attending college in a new area, Ann’s first concern was that she didn’t know what was available or how she would now study being a sole carer for her daughter.

Through the funding we provided Ann with a tablet and she quickly began searching for training opportunities locally, she managed to find a Health and Social care course which she was able to fit around the school timetable. Ann was then able to apply on line, she was successful in her application and is now also using the tablet to complete her course work, communicate with school about her daughters education and do most of her shopping online which saves her time.

Ann says that she felt as though she wanted to give up on her dreams of studying when she moved to refuge, the abuse had left her feeling exhausted and defeated. She said with the support of staff helping her to take away barriers she felt more focused and able.

Written by Stroud Women’s Refuge

Stroud Women's Refuge Logo

Find out more about the Digital Inclusion Funding and the organisations awarded here: