When my ex-partner tried to murder me by putting a gun to my head, I was at the top of my game. I had reached a point with my PR companies where I was the go-to for giving voice to the voiceless; I was winning awards for making waves in marketing and diversity. Yes, I consider myself to be an intelligent woman. I also had a vast circle of friends and colleagues and a close-knit family. My greatest obstacle to freedom was my own overbearing feeling of shame.
During the referendum campaign, we saw that telling someone on a zero-hours contract or in agency work that there is a risk to their job from Brexit was futile. Until we begin to address these issues and reinstate the concept of secure employment, we will stand no chance of rebuilding our fractured society.
This week the Prison Reform Trust and Women in Prison published a new report. It found that a chronic shortage of safe and stable housing for women leaving prison is leading to more crime, more victims and greater use of unnecessary and expensive imprisonment. Six in ten women leaving prison may not have a home to go to on release, and recent prison inspectorate reports suggest that the situation may be getting worse. Vulnerable women, desperate to secure a safe place to stay, are being deemed intentionally homeless and not in priority need. For some, getting sent back to prison seems like the only solution.