LIFE experiences can instigate the need to make changes.

Evie, whose identity is protected, is among many women and men who have suffered domestic abuse.

This once taboo subject is, thankfully, emerging from the shadows. Victims no longer have to suffer in silence and, as Evie discovered, help is available to escape the life many live in fear.

Once they have found a way out there are many issues to consider such as the financial implications of making a new start and finding employment to fund a roof over their family's head - but imagine if that was thwarted through a lack of identification and through no fault of the their own?

"If you leave an abusive relationship, as I did, it can be very dangerous to go back and get your ID - or your partner may have destroyed it," explains Evie.

"This stops survivors from moving on from the abuse."

Emergency ID would enable survivors to prove their identity and citizenship and to access benefits and housing support immediately. It could also be used to support them when trying to gain DBS checks, driving licences or passports.

Lack of identification can force victims to stay in abusive relationships, or return.

"I eventually found the courage to leave, but before that it was always the ID issue that stopped me," says Evie.

She is now championing The //idoexist campaign calling for emergency identification documents to be provided for abuse victims.

Says Evie:“Until a month ago, I still didn’t have a passport. It was still really hard for me even to find work. I would have to retell the story all the time."

She says she felt she couldn't move on from the abuse. "Emergency ID would allow you to get on with moving forward and not have to re-traumatise yourself by going through it all again.”

Staying Put, the Bradford-based domestic abuse charity, and Domestic Violence Services (Keighley) is supporting Evie's campaign.

Yasmin Khan, Staying Put's director, says: “It’s shocking how often we are contacted by women whose partners have destroyed their documents.

“It’s hard enough to leave an abusive relationship without discovering that you are then unable to find work or claim benefits. Survivors of domestic violence are being punished for fleeing violent partners at a time when they need the most support.

“Emergency ID documents would help those escaping domestic violence to move on, without constantly being reminded of the abuse they have suffered.”

Often domestic abuse survivors change their identity to stop their abuser tracking them down – but this can lead to further problems.

Says Evie: “Because I wanted to protect myself, I changed my name by deed poll, and then my old records didn’t match my new documents. Because they didn’t match I had to get new copies of my birth certificate and my children’s. My qualifications were all destroyed as well – it cost a fortune to replace it all.”

The cost of replacing documents and dealing with official agencies can be especially difficult for vulnerable survivors. Evie credits Staying Put with helping her to get her passport and enabling her to find employment.

"I finally got my head in the right place to do all the ringing around and filling the forms in. Not everyone can do that."

The loss of identity documents can also be a huge problem for survivors with immigration issues.

“Staying Put has supported clients who cannot prove their immigration status due to their documents having been stolen by their abusers," explains Yasmin Khan.

"Sometimes the abuser has controlled the whole immigration process and the victim does not even know what their status is. They are then unable to claim benefits, find housing or work."

Leeds West MP, Rachel Reeves, says she will raise the issue with the Home Office, the Women and Equalities Minister and relevant Select Committee MPs to see what action can be taken.

Says Evie: “I’m really pleased that this campaign is being supported by Rachel Reeves MP and by Staying Put."

Visit to sign the petition.

Staying Put's helpline is open 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday on 0808 2800999. For more information about Staying Put or Keighley Domestic Violence Services visit or