The knock on my front door made my stomach churn and made me feel physically sick. As I opened the door the person standing their had a huge smile on her face. I looked at her and burst into tears. I walked into the living room where my parents were sitting as the social worker followed me in.
I felt absolutely awful and like I was the worst mum ever.
All I was doing was protecting my 10-month-old and now I was beginning to wonder why I bothered making that statement at all because he was right, social services were going to take my daughter away from me.
I took her upstairs to my daughters bedroom, watching her eyes soak up everything in the room and my mind thinking oh my god what is she looking for and why is she trying to catch me out. Oh she’s got some lovely things, she said.
My heart suddenly sunk. What was this woman judging me?
I was a victim of domestic abuse but I knew how to look after my daughter, I still had the ability to feed her, clothe her and nurture her. I know how to look after, which is why I ended the relationship.
I’ve always been asked, well why did you have a baby with him?
There was nothing I wanted more, than my abuser to change for me, I wanted to be the reason he changed, for me, for his daughter and I give him that chance. He often told me he would change, but he never did.
As we walked back into the living room she told me Social Services were involved because the Police have to inform them where domestic abuse is concerned and a child is involved. I was being referred to a course at the local Family Centre, it was for 8 wees and if I didn’t comply or got back together with my ex partner my 10-month-old daughter would be taken from me.
I had just left a controlling relationship whereby if I didn’t do as I was told there would be consequences and now the professionals were treating me exactly the same way.
Obviously I attended the 8 weeks sessions but I didn’t find them helpful at all . There was a group of us, all at different stages of our journey and we did little tasks such as writing down what he liked and disliked about our abuser.
No matter which way I turned it felt as though the focus was completely on my ex abuser.
I didn’t want to think about him, let alone answer questions about him, I had left him and I wanted to focus on me and my daughter, yet no one seemed to help me do that.
I registered with a local Surestart Centre and in time I was assigned a Family Support Worker who came to do a home visit and wow, finally someone was talking an interest in me and my daughter. It was such a wonderful feeling. She encouraged me to attend the groups thy had on offer – it helped build our confidence so much.
Once I had completed my 8 week awareness course, Social Services closed my case and wouldn’t support me even during my Family Court process.
I was never given a business card or telephone number signposting me on to another agency should I need extra support
My healing process felt as isolating as the relationship I was once in.