• A story teller from Tameside shares their personal journey, thoughts and experiences about the effect of multiple disadvantages,

A story teller from Tameside shares their personal journey, thoughts and experiences about the effect of multiple disadvantages, specifically around the topics of domestic abuse, parental alienation and the subsequent impact this has had on their mental health. They share their thoughts and comments on the positive and negative experiences with the involvement of public support services and explains how further understanding and training is required for professionals in this field in order to improve these services.

Good evening, Claire. Thanks for a green speech. Me today, just before I go any further. Uh, and for the purposes of the audio recording, can you just confirm that you consent to this interview today? Thank you

In relation, Claire, to your experience with multiple disadvantage specifically in relation to domestic violence. Um, the criminal justice system, including the CPS social services and the police, Uh, and also around the area of mental health. Can you tell me what your experience has been? Um, certainly within the last couple of years, within this area

Yeah. So I am. I originally sought help because I come from a domestic violence background

I was with my ex husband for 20 years and that violence, um, and abuse. It ranged from physical, mental, sexual financial, uh, a lot of control and coercion within that relationship as well. When I actually finally managed to get out of that relationship, um, I sought help mainly from the police

Um, because I realised that the abuse that was going through wasn't right. Um, during the relationship, I contacted the police a handful of times. Um, there are things that have been locked out of the house, but mainly because of the physical assaults that, uh, that had, um the last time I phoned the police for an assault and the police come, it's quite serious

Assault was published three times in the face, and I fell to the floor. Um, the police come, they checked me over. They said what you want us to do with him? Um, so she replied, You know, I just I just want to get away and get away from it

And I don't want to be a bad wife. Um, and they took him off and took him to his parents. Um, I thought it would have been arrested

I didn't know that. I had to tell them he had wanted him arrested. I thought it was something that they would do automatically because you just assaulted me

There was no follow up after that. Um, so the police have been called out to remove him for the property. And that was it

There was no follow up. Nobody come to see me afterwards. Um, and as a result of that, my ex husband then found a way to worm his back in a way back in and the cycle started again

Um, compared to another time, we look at the property and the best abuse team come around. The next day was two ladies. And the worst thing that this is abuse, the help is there

So the comparison to you know, the the amounts of the level support that had just for being locked out of the property compared to being punched in the face. You know, multiple times of my husband, there was such a wide gap. You know, you would have thought would have thought that with more support, because I've just been battered

I am afterwards. And when I left, I left the relationship. I went through extreme post separation abuse

It was intense. Um, I also parental alienation. My ex husband has actually fallen the police on me

Um, so he would law me to the property on the promise. You know, I can see my Children. I want to go out there

If I wouldn't speak to him, I'll get back in a relationship with him. He'd follow the police, um, to get me arrested. That was that was my punishment

Um, the police would come. I would say this is what he's doing. I even have recordings of him, you know, follow me around the house

But I was threatened with arrest. Evidently the house, Um, I didn't have anywhere to go because I was still living at that House of data to stay away from it for a bit of money. Actually, village actually first brought down, and I said, You know, I would have to sleep in my car and I was again threatened with arrest

If I had to sleep in my car, I would have been arrested, so I had to go and sleep on my sister's couch for the night. Um, it seems, for victims of domestic abuse is, I think, especially the control of coercion, because your abuser is so well versed in coercion and manipulation, it seems that can do that with the police as well, and they tend to take the side of the abuser quite a lot with this. So the reason the option for the victim to even have the voice heard because it's it's like the the automatic, I believe the abuser straight away

They don't step back and go and gone in it could this big something else and my husband anyway, then was arrested sometime after four. Controlling coercive behaviour. Um, stalking, harassment

Um, I think they put the assault on there as well, but they couldn't follow up for the assault because six months had passed so we could follow up for that 1. 18 months it took from his arrest to me getting the outcome from the CPS that there was no further action. I don't know why

There's no further action. I've never had any correspondence. No letter, no explanation

I've not been offered the victim's rights to appeal that decision. They had absolutely everything. They had video recordings, diary entries, text messages, emails

They had letters of him. They had a text message of admitting that had stopped me and even that that wasn't enough to bring a charge for it. And it seems, what do we have to do? What the victims have to do, you know, do we do we have to actually turn up with an injury like a physical injury just to get a charge? Because this abuse, it's not physical, it's mental, you know? I'm now going through counselling

I'm seeking support for myself to learn how to have a normal life, have a normal relationship and find myself again and that help have had to find myself. So even though there has been reports of domestic abuse, domestic violence and control coercion, there was no no one came to me and said, This is where you can go for help. This is where you can go to understand what's happened to you

I had to find that for myself, and that was only by chance speaking to a work colleague. And they said, You know, I've gone through some similar Here's bridges, Try them. The work for me that's led onto the Freedom Programme and that's led onto the Women's Centre

You know, it's kind of it's the ball lead on to something else, but I've had to find it myself. Why is it not out there? He is not well known. Bridges is a well known you know

The Women's Centre is not well known. The support there for people like me is not known. It's not out there

Okay, um, the effects of mental health as well. The effects of mental health. It can be seen sometimes to do as well

Like it's a bad thing to have, um and it's I don't think that's right, really as well, Because if you've gone through domestic abuse and it affects you the way that affects you and you go to somebody for help like the police and you're on medication because of this and you get told, you know that it could go against you in court. If you know if your abuser does go to court and get charged, it could go against you because you're on medication. But your medication because of this abuse

And I was told of the police officer that it was no longer run the search, and I just recently come off it. And I was told that it's a good job. I'm no longer run searching because it would have gone against me in court

So I've got to go through all that abuse and other medication counselling and that would have gone against me. The effects of the abuse would have gone against me because I was taking medication, was sick. I was seeking help myself for it

I am sorry. Did you say that was a police officer, A police officer that said that to me? I want to report it. The abuse

Right. Okay, um, I have mixed opinions about the support that I got off the place. I have had some excellent support

You know, the two ladies, that comrade, when I got locked out to the police officer that took my statement when my ex husband was arrested, you know, she kept updated. She listened. I felt I was below believed, which is really, really hard for somebody who's gone through especially controlling coercive behaviour

Because it's so hard to prove, because done behind closed doors, you always feel you're never going to be believed. So to feel like you're getting believed, that's a massive, massive thing. Um, but then you get the police officers who done absolutely nothing

They just took him away, you know? Well, the actual appointment is in his car and watch them drive off to his parents. Um, and you just kicked seven bells out of me, you know, and it's you can't You can't have such a massive inconsistency with support for victims of domestic abuse. It's even now I'm thinking then police officers

What were they thinking that night? You turn up the property and there's a man. That's double the size of the woman. And she's got a big bruise on her face and she's just been punched to the floor and there's no follow up for it

Um, the police did help a little bit with when it come to the social services side with my Children. So as I mentioned before, I did, Um, I have still experienced in parental alienation. So my ex has been used my Children against me

He actually threatened their lives if it was to turn up at the door. Um, so I had to basically do what he said when it comes to the kids. Otherwise, I could have possibly run the risk of being put to have

I've reported this to the police and social services, and there's absolutely nothing I'm telling. You know, he has threatened to kill my Children, and they still allowed him to be in his care. They never investigated it

It's allowed them to be in his care. When I did report the controlling coercive behaviour because his Children involved, the police did highlight a well being check wellness check on the Children to which again, I found out after the fact that social services has spent three weeks with my Children. And so I found out afterwards when the phone may and you know, my Children that didn't have a bed because the bed was making the noise and the dad didn't like it

So he took power. He was sleeping on the floor, you know, they spent three weeks. He had to get the bedroom right and they had to clean the house and everything

So again, it's documented that they weren't being looked after that. But towards the end of it said, Alright, well, happy where it's at now believe it. The Children get left alone on their own a lot

There's a lot of sexual behaviour of the dad in front of the Children. Um, given the parental early nation, which is, you know, I have been told that as a form of abuse, um, Madsen, he was born with heart conditions. Is that open heart surgery? And he's due to have more surgery

He's not on his medication. He's missed numerous hospital appointments. His dad doesn't cook for me

Just leave the money for takeaways. But on McDonald's every night, and he's putting a lot of weight and his. His cardiologist has said his obese he needs to lose the weight is putting a strain on his heart

So, you know, I've got all these worries about my son's health and social services. Don't want to know. They're just not interested

Does do you know? Do my Children have to be enough statistic? You know it is I'm not phoning up social services because I'm trying to score points and falling them up because my Children need help. I'm doing it for my Children. It's, you know, not like you know I don't want the kids taking off him, you know, Give them to me

This is not a power struggle or brownie points. This is about keeping my Children safe, healthy and happy. And they're not

They're not. And there is a failing there with social services there. You know, the last time I spoke to them, my Children have been left for two nights because the dad had gone to Ireland for two nights again

I found out after the fact, just by chance, I found out and the dad's got this big summer. I saw it in the house and the boys had access to it. The police got called social services, got called the police, actually made, you know, did attend the property and gave him a stern talking to social services weren't involved

They just weren't interested. I got off the phone of social services, and it is because the way that the woman spoke to me like I was doing something wrong. So currently, this is still ongoing

I am with my Children, and my ex husband is weaponising them. He's using them against me. He does use coercion with them as well

My sons do want to live in that. I've mentioned they want to live with me. Uh, in fact, one of them actually come to live with me last year

Um, and he was here for four days before his dad turned up, and he said, You know, if you come back to live with me, you can have your xbox on your phone back. But if you live with your mom, you're not having them. And that was a way of getting the back

It was it was coercion. So he's using them. Um, it's since Christmas

I've seen in my son's once. It's very hard to get hold of them. Um, again, Because he leaves him on the road, Um, the rippling out on the xbox and then sleeping all day

So when you know when trying to get out and I can't get hold of them. I remember when I was younger, my parents split up and I remember my dad saying, Like on your moms, pick him up in a bit. Let's get ready

And they always thought that that's what it would be like. He would play it, play an active part in my Children seeing me, Your mom is coming to see you. Come on, let's get ready

And you know, you know, he prevents me from seeing them as much as you possibly can. And that is coercion. That is, controlling behaviour and still ongoing

But where do alternative help? I've gone everywhere that I can. The police not interested. Social services not interested at all

The only option is to fight in court the course today. But even then, what chance have I got? So again, you know the CPS with regard to that Claire you mentioned about prosecuting your husband. Can you tell me where that led to what The actual outcome of that was the went no further action, No further action

Yeah. So the Chad, what the original was rested for was controlling coercive behaviour, stalking and harassment. And they went for no further action

I don't know why. It was no further action. I've never had any letters

I've never had any correspondence. All I got was a phone call of the police officer. Was handling the case interested? Unfortunately, the CPS have said no further action

So in relation to the rationale behind that, have you had any update at all? Nothing at all. I'm clueless as to why, and it's quite frustrating y as well as it's quite upsetting. Really? Because like I said, there had so much evidence

It took me 4.5 hours to upload evidence through WhatsApp to the police officer. That's how much that there was

There was diary in search through his videos, emails, text messages that had my mom's phone. Because my mom was a mediating between us, that beginning had to go zero contact, so they had my mom's phone. What more did they need? You know, and ironically enough, the only, um, correspondent, I had of the CPS was when they said them

I got text messages saying there wasn't going to chase for the assault because six months between the six months had passed. That's all the time. I never heard any of the CPS

So when it comes to the two charges, I have no idea, no idea and in relation to if you can focus. Now I know. Thank you

You You've talked about what was said about you taking sertraline, which is an antidepressant. Is that right? Yeah. In relation to your mental health

Now, do you feel that you would be able to reach out to anybody professionally with regard to that in order to ask for help? I think, like I said, your mental health is sometimes seen as taboo. Um, and I found for me what works for me now is self help. Um, I do feel like down by the system across everything from the police to CPS social services, everything

So I think if I was to go to somebody and reach out to professional for help, would I get it? Because I've been let down in so many places. Um so that's why I'm focusing on self help. Really? And look at doing things like mindfulness and things like that, which is sad, really, because I know that helps their butt

And how has this affected your mental health? Really, really bad. Yeah, I'm not gonna lie. When I first left my ex husband and the amount of abuse that was getting and the parental alienation, I didn't want to be here

Um, and I'm very, very, very near, like, come close to taking my own life because I just didn't want to be here. Um, where do you turn to? You know, you hear about it in the news as well. People taking the lives of banana totally understand why they're doing it, because this helps not there or it's not advertised

That helps there. And like with the women's Centre, that has been an absolute massive help meeting People who have gone through the same as me. I'm not on my own

Uh, there's different activities we can do, and that's been a massive help. But I've had to find that myself. You know, it's nobody's come to me said Here, try this

I've had to find that myself. Which leads me on to the final question. Really for you now, Claire, in relation to, um, your own experience, what would you say? Certainly in terms of improvement, how the services could improve and help you and help other, um, ladies and men in your position, I think

More training, uncontrolled, coercive behaviour. Definitely. And I know it's a new law, and I know it's only just now coming to light, but the effects that it has on women and Children is immense

It really is. You know, I have to, For example, I have them in a new relationship, but I have trying to learn now not to ask permission to go for a shower. That's how deep it runs

You have certain learning behaviours that you have to unlearn the certain reactions that you have that you have to unlearn, um, and the training that professionals in the place and the CPS and social services and the like have to have on recognises somebody that's under control and coercive behaviour. It really needs work enough because I believe that if some professionals had that and they could recognise the signs or they knew that I was in that type of relationship they cover approach things a different way. Things might not be where they are right now

I might have more access to my Children. I might even have my Children living with me. I could have had a charge for the abuse that I went under

So I do think that's a massive, massive thing. Especially in my case. I do think a lot more work needs to be done on that type of abuse

Brilliant. Well, that's great. That Claire, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and for giving me a time today

Okay. Thank you.

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