Claire’s Story

When Claire awoke to find a stranger in her bed she no longer felt safe in her own home. Meeting the stranger and explaining how she’d been affected helped her to move on.

Brother and sister, Claire* and James* decided to invite a few friends round one evening. Leaving the door unlocked, their friends let themselves in and out of the house throughout the evening.

As it got later, Claire’s 4-year-old daughter woke up disturbed, so Claire took her into her own bed and fell asleep for the night. At 1.30am, Claire suddenly woke up to find a woman who she didn’t know, lying in the bed next to her, fully dressed. Claire jumped up immediately, woke the woman, Jennifer* and demanded that she leave immediately.

Jennifer said she was looking for a friend and started becoming verbally abusive. James soon arrived, having heard the commotion, and whilst he was trying to usher Jennifer out of the house, a scuffle broke out on the stairs. Claire received minor cuts and bruising to her ribs but James came off worse with a broken nose and damage to his phone. Police arrived on the scene and dealt with Jennifer before asking ROC Restore to get involved.

Claire, James, and Jennifer all agreed to have a face to face restorative meeting between themselves, facilitated by ROC Restore volunteers. At this meeting, Claire and James discovered that Jennifer was a Ph.D. student, who’d done nothing like this before, and who immediately apologised to both of them.

Jennifer explained that she’d not drunk alcohol for a long time and she and her partner had been to a friend’s house that evening, on the same road, for dinner, where she’d drunk too much wine. Her partner had left early, to be up for work the next day, but when Jennifer had gone to leave later she’d realised she didn’t know the way home. She’d tried to find her way back to her friend’s house but instead ended up in Claire’s room. Jennifer couldn’t remember anything past that point but completely accepted Claire and James’s version of events.

Claire explained that Jennifer had been like a wild woman with wild eyes and terrifying. She shared that since the incident she’d not been able to sleep through the night – waking up sweating and scared that someone had broken in to snatch her daughter. She detailed how she now double checks all doors and windows before bed and gets up 3 or 4 times each night to check them again. Her physical scars may have healed but the mental scars were still very much present.

Hearing this, Jennifer gave a full and sincere apology for all that had happened. She offered to pay for the damage to James phone and had brought with her flowers and chocolates for Claire and James.

By the end of the meeting all parties hugged and were able to move forward with their lives.

What an incredible outcome for all involved, including the ROC Restore volunteers. This is why we do what we do.

If you’d like to find out more about this project, contact [email protected].