Domestic abuse survivor zone
Domestic abuse can continue to impact on our lives for many years after the abuse has ended. Individual and group support is now available for survivors. We have a laugh, we have a cry and we are there for each other. Together we can also make a change and help other people that are going through what we have. We can influence policy makers to improve services and make a difference.
A message from your domestic abuse survivor worker
As a survivors we are so honoured to elevate all of your voices.
We have been where you have been, experienced some of the things that you have, felt the fear, isolation and lack of control over our lives like I am sure you may be feeling, or have felt too.
We want to make sure that you don’t feel like that anymore or ever again. We can’t say we have a magic wand because we don’t, but our team including other survivors along with our colleagues will work tirelessly to help you navigate life away from abuse and be safe and happy.
We know how hard it is to challenge things, and people or have an idea but still not confident to voice it. That’s what we are here for. No judgement from us, the only stupid question is one not asked.
We can’t do this job on our own, we need you and want you on this journey with us. The new domestic abuse legislation gives us an opportunity to ensure we meet your needs and those of future victims. No training or awareness is better than lived experience, we are the most qualified off all to advise. We are here to make sure your needs are heard, and trust us, we will shout them loud and clearly for you.
The questionnaire below is also an opportunity to tell us about your experience in an anonymous form. It come to us. A team dedicated to elevating survivor voice. We are victims ourselves of nearly two decades and we also felt handcuffed to a perpetrators by the systems designed to free us. We get it.
This questionnaire could possibly bring back some things you may have wanted to forget. Please skip any questions you are uncomfortable with, and take your time, have a break and look after yourself.
It will tell us what matters to you, what needs to change and, hey, what we are good at.
As it is anonymous you will not be contacted by anyone. If you would like to contact our team our email is firstname.lastname@example.org and we so look forward to meeting you all in whatever way you feel safe.
We are here for you.
Bespoke support for male victims
For many years, domestic abuse has been a taboo subject, and even seen as acceptable in some communities. As a male survivor of domestic abuse at the time I thought I was the only one, there seemed to be very little support. It was not until my children started to be physically affected and the authorities were involved I found that there was support.
Thankfully, times are changing. More and more types of behaviour involved in domestic abuse are recognised as crimes, including coercive and controlling behaviour and stalking and harassment. There is support for both men and women, in my opinion there is still not enough support but the government is moving in the right direction.
In Doncaster support is available, as a male survivor of domestic abuse I will be involved in setting up a support group for male survivors, where we can simply talk or listen. My wish is for nobody to feel alone, whether you have escaped from domestic abuse or currently still in danger.
The main barrier is not so much a lack of support, it is knowing where to find it and realising that us men too have emotions.
The first time I rang the police it was out of desperation and it did start the ball rolling with child protection, social services etc. I always thought that such services would take the children away, but to my surprise they did a good job, they protected my children and myself and got us the help and support we needed.
I would like to see domestic abuse brought out of “the shadows”, recognised by all and full support given no matter of sex, religion, sexuality, culture etc.
Survivor workers ready for referrals
Laura and Kirsty, the survivor liaison workers run online and face to face group sessions as well as one to one support.
Criteria for survivor support is:
- Anyone that has experienced domestic abuse and would like ongoing emotional support
- Should not still be working with another domestic abuse worker
- Cannot include anyone still in the criminal justice system (but can include people going through Civil proceedings e.g. family courts)
- Cannot include anyone still with the perpetrator (you should contact the Doncaster domestic abuse hub if you are still with the perpetrator to receive more in depth safety advice and support)
If you would like support please contact us by completing this referral form and return it to: email@example.com
- Survivor self referral form
- Download (23KB - DOCX)
A survivor of domestic abuse has recorded an audio clip following the support she received from the Survivor Liaison worker:
Support Groups for women
City of Doncaster Council's Domestic and Sexual Abuse Survivor Liaison Service is delivering face to face and online support groups for survivors of domestic abuse in your area. This support is for women who are no longer in abusive relationships but who are still dealing with the trauma that the abuse has left them with. A survivor of domestic abuse facilitates all groups. The groups are very informal. Sometimes survivors might want to talk about their experiences and other times just have a chat, and hopefully a laugh!
Aims of the groups
- Stay safe
- Improve your confidence
- Make new friends
- Learn to thrive again after your experience
In order to keep you safe from your abuser we are careful about how we advertise these groups and we hope they will grow over time and with word of mouth. Therefore for exact locations and a chat with the Survivor Liaison Worker running the group please contact Kirsty, Survivor Liaison Worker on 07890985671 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where and when
|Woodlands||Every Monday (except bank holidays)||12.30pm-2.30pm|
|Edlington||Every Tuesday morning||10am-12noon|
|Stainforth||Every Tuesday afternoon||1pm-3pm|
|Balby||Wednesdays FORTNIGHTLY (run by volunteers)||10am-12noon|
|Hexthorpe||Thursday FORTNIGHTLY (run by volunteers)||1pm-3pm|
|Online via Microsoft Teams||Every Monday evening||7pm|
Male support, online sessions and 1 to 1 support is also available by emailing: email@example.com If the number of men wanting group survivor support grows we aim to run face to face groups in the future. A bespoke LGBT+ domestic abuse survivors group is also being planned. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org People still in an abusive relationships should call the Domestic Abuse Hub on 01302 737080.
Have your say
Your experiences of domestic abuse can help us to improve our services, publicity and training. We want to know how you escaped the abuse, which agencies helped you and which agencies could have done more. We want to know about the impact the abuse had on you and your children and how you think we can help other victims and survivors.
How do other people survive domestic abuse? What helped them? What advice do they have for others? Here are some real life stories from domestic abuse survivors.
If you would like to share your experience on this page please email your survivor liaison worker: email@example.com
After my latest 3 day ordeal & a morning of being punched and kicked, there was a loud bang at the front door. I was told to stay silent and pretend we were out. Unbeknown to me the father of my two children had raised concerns for mine & my children’s well-being & two support workers had come to my house. They didn’t just knock once, they went around the back knocking on the back door & thankfully they weren’t giving up until one of us answered. I could hear them say they were not leaving until I came to the door. I was wearing just my dressing gown, nothing underneath. I had remnants of paint in my hair and over me. I was covered in blood & bruises & could hardly walk due to my ribs being so badly injured.
I was ordered to get rid of them and get back upstairs. I staggered down the stairs praying that they would still be there. Was this my chance to finally escape this nightmare? Did I dare answer the door?
As I finally made it to the door I carefully opened it a little & looked at the support workers. Fear raced through my mind.
What if they couldn’t help me?
What if they didn’t believe me?
What would happen to me?
What would happen to my kids?
I tried to cover my bruises in fear. The couple at the door took one look at me and asked if I was safe? Petrified & not knowing what to say I instantly broke down in tears. One of the women took my hand and led me to her car. As she did even more fear raced through my mind.
What was he (my attacker) going to do?
Where was I going in just my dressing gown?
What if he followed us?
What if he hurt the support workers in an attempt to get me?
The car pulled away from my house & off my street & as it did I broke down. I felt like I’d been holding so much for so long. So many secrets, so many fears, so much pain. It was hitting me all at once.
Every part of my body was in pain. My ribs from him beating me, my jaw from him punching me & breaking it, the thumping in my head from the mirrors being smashed over me. There was no part of me that didn't hurt. The extent of the ordeal consumed me. How had this happened?
I was taken to a safe house & the police were called. The officer who came to speak to me was both gentle and patient with me. She informed me that my attacker had been arrested.
Rather than feel relieved, more fear washed over me:
What if he denied everything?
What if they didn’t believe me?
What if they let him out?
If I were to go back home then he would surely come & find me & kill me this time.
After speaking to police & being initially assessed I was then rushed to hospital. I was struggling to breath with my ribs being damaged and I was also in shock & panicking about everything that was happened.
I was admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary. They recognised I was in a great deal of pain and distress. I was sent for xrays where they discovered I had 4 broken ribs & a fractured jaw which needed emergency surgery. After hearing how I had been beaten with an iron bar there were concerns that I had small fracture on my spine but after further tests luckily this wasn't the case.
After being treated at the hospital I was sent back to the safe house
Once I was settled down there I just sat & cried. Tears of relief, tears of pain, tears of fear. A big part of me felt somehow free of my domestic violence ordeal while another part of me feared it could all return at any moment. I had no idea what would happen with the police. Yes they had interviewed me, seen my injuries and arrested my attacker but would they really take it all seriously? Would they believe me? Would they listen to his lies? His charm? These thoughts consumed me. What if this isn’t the end of this?
The next morning a lovely detective came to escort me the police station to do my video interview. They informed me they had detained him & he was still in police custody. I was questioned again about what had happened. Reliving the ordeal again was unbearable. As I was saying the words of what had happened it dawned on me just how serious my attack had been & I couldn't believe what I'd actually been through. I realised in that moment that I was very lucky to be alive.
Following my interview with the police I was contacted by social services. I was informed that due to the nature of my domestic violence case, neither myself or my children could return to our home. I would have to remain at the safe house & my children would have to now stay with their paternal dad. This was devastating news for me. Although I understood it was for the best given the situation, it also felt like the worst thing that could have happened had happened. My children being taken away from me.
I believe this is why so many women fear reaching out for help when they become a victim of domestic violence - being separated from their children or judged for being a bad parent for allowing this situation to happen. I was returned to the safe house, alone. I’d never felt so alone. I felt I had failed massively as a parent.
Everything felt like too much to hold & I felt like I couldn't cope. In that moment I thought the best thing for everyone involved was for me to just not be here anymore. I attempted to take my own life. Luckily I was found in time by the staff at the safe house & due to my unstable mental health & my attempt at suicide I was sectioned to an Adult mental health unit.
I felt huge shame & guilt for my actions & felt like an even bigger burden.
The staff at the mental health unit were so supportive and had so much compassion, empathy & understanding for me & my situation. When my mental health became unstable they would always be there with new techniques for me to try & there would be zero judgement. Nothing was too much for them. If ever I felt I needed to talk to someone they were there for me day & night. I’ll be eternally grateful for their help & support. While in the unit I learned that my attacker had denied all charges and was being kept on remand. This eased my thoughts a little as it looked as if things were thankfully being taken seriously. I knew while he was on remand that he could not get to me.
As a result of the support my mental health started to improve & I was assigned domestic abuse support workers and I began to build trust. They helped me find a new home for me and my children and supported me at court. They arranged for me to visit the court before the trial to look round and see what options were available to me. I was shown the victim suite and I was also told how the day would go & what to expect. No question was ever too much and thanks to their help I felt more prepared for the court proceedings.
Thankfully my ex was being kept on remand in a local prison until the court date. This gave me a little more peace of mind & security while we were at our new home. Even so I continued to struggle with my mental health. I kept constantly questioning & blaming myself for the whole situation. I believed I must have done something wrong to make my ex angry & for him to have had all the violent outbursts, including the final attack?
I had months & months of therapy & a CPN who taught me lots of coping techniques to help with my recovery, healing & mental health. I would often feel like a burden but was always reassured by the professionals who worked with me that nothing was ever too much and that I was doing well having all the professionals working with me.
Slowly over time I came to learn & realise that my ex's anger & domestic abuse wasn’t my fault & that I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was. He was the one responsible for his actions & they were wrong & unacceptable.
We spent 6 months in temporary accommodation until we were finally able to move to our new forever home.
As the court date loomed, the closer it came the more anxious I would feel. I began questioning whether I would be able to go through with it all. After doing all the therapy I didn’t want to relive everything all over again & I wasn’t sure I’d have the strength. Thankfully I continued to receive incredible support from the amazing support team I had around me. They reassured & gave me the strength to go through with it all. Thanks to them I felt ready as I'd ever be to go through with the court proceedings.
The day before the court hearing, my ex pleaded guilty to ABH (actual bodily harm) GBH (grievous bodily harm) & criminal damage. Even though he pleaded guilty to some charges there are still 6 counts held open on file for him. As a result he was sentenced to 40 months imprisonment & also issued a 10 year restraining order for me.
I continued to receive support even after the court hearing & also probation who managed my ex's case would keep me up to date with where things were and would check on my welfare and mental state.
I feel I have been very lucky with the court outcome and also the support I’ve received throughout the whole experience.
The reason I want to share my experiences is because I don’t want other women to have to go through what I did. I also want to provide hope & strength to those who are experiencing domestic abuse & violence and share that there is support & help available out there & that people do care & want to help.
I always felt trapped, helpless, that it was somehow my fault & that people wouldn’t believe me if I spoke out. I also feared it would lead to more violence & so I stayed stuck in the cycle until I almost lost my life.
I was very doubtful to get help & support however when it was offered & I took it, it not only changed my life, it saved my life.
Not only did it free me from my ex partner & the violence, it has also helped me to process the whole experience. I now have great ways in which I can manage my mental health, PTSD & anxiety. I understand the importance of self care I’m able to better manage my thoughts & anxiety too.
I got my justice and I’ve slowly got my life back. I'm now free from the violence & my ex.
As I continue to learn from my experience, I hope to now help & support others as much as I can.
Can’t remember what I’d done to make him hit me. Must have been my fault though. I just pushed him till he lost his temper. My fault. I was so stupid, hopeless at everything. Never did anything right. No wonder he lost it.
I waited a long, long time, before I finally realised that no matter what I did – it would never be good enough. Before I understood that I was worth more than this, and before I had the courage to leave. I did leave, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it years earlier. Why I thought that staying together was better for my children. Why I thought I couldn’t cope on my own. Today? Well I’m happily married to a wonderful man, who loves me just the way I am. Who trusts me, and supports me with everything I do.
My message to anyone out there suffering violence and abuse is get the help and support you need, you deserve to live free from abuse".
The world made no sense without him in it, and I felt confused and lonely. My son did make sense however. I wanted to be helped – to be stronger for his sake. I was assigned a Domestic Violence Advocate, who was a brilliant lady who genuinely wanted to help me. She referred me to the Women’s Centre. I met with another lady, who, alongside my Domestic Violence Advocate, explained what courses the Women’s Centre had to offer. I was welcome to call in anytime, should I ever need to talk, or just need somewhere to go (to have somewhere to aim for when you’ve no friends means a lot!).
The Confidence and Communication classes I attended were run with warmth, humour and understanding. The Project worker took the time to welcome everybody individually and listened to every question and thought with interest. The classes helped me a great deal in overcoming my social anxieties. I learned about body language and how not to interpret the behaviour of others on a personal level. This is something I often used to do. I learned to integrate again, with other people; something I hadn’t done for a long time. I learned to socialise again and the world wasn’t such a bad place after all!
Meeting people who are not “obvious victims” opened my eyes up. It reassured me that vulnerability can happen to anyone and that made me felt less like a victim. When you feel like a victim, you tend to act like one, and people treat you in that way (I found that at least). Rather now, I felt like an individual for the first time in years. The Confidence Class brought out a side of me I hadn’t seen for a very long time – a very focussed and talkative side of me.
I had never been allowed to have an opinion, with my abuser, and I noticed that I wasn’t alone. Many women in the class seemed happy that people were listened to. The classes gave me a sense of direction – a mark in my diary – somewhere for me to be. A hurdle at first, because I suffered with anxiety, and on my way to my first class I suffered with a panic attack. Yet by the last class, I walked through a busy town centre, by myself, with a sense of freedom. The anxiety wasn’t with me any longer.
Sometimes in order to overcome your fears you do have to face them!"
I was forced to have sex with him whenever he wanted; sometimes crying into the pillow as I knew what would happen if I refused. In hindsight, I think he was trying to tie me down, and have lots of children. His own father had done this with his wife, who also suffered abuse. This was his way of preventing me from getting away.
He once attempted to strangle me, leaving bruises on my throat, but in those days (1970) domestic violence wasn’t really seen as a crime, and there wasn’t the support and understanding available that there is today.
The first time I left, I went to stay at my sister’s and during the night, he turned up at the house. The kids were asleep. He ran upstairs and grabbed them and ran down the street to a taxi that was waiting. After two days, I went to his dad’s to get the kids back. His father said to me, “If you had done that to me I would have given you a smack.”
After I got brave enough to leave with assistance from friends, he snatched the kids a few more times. After getting the children back after the custody hearing, I had to go with the Police to escort me for my safety. When I moved to my mum’s, he would turn up demanding access to the kids. Access days were horrible. Until the children were back in the house, I could not relax. He would use the children to try to manipulate and upset me.
I now so regret not leaving him earlier but in those days, it wasn’t always possible with children and no money to speak of. All this happened over thirty years ago, and the children are all grown up now, and I’ve left it behind me. But it all comes back to me when I hear about campaigns like this one, and I’m so glad that today there is more support for victims. I would just say to anyone – don’t put up with being abused."
My Story: 1969 – 1970
Sarah and Stacey
Changing Lives is a national, registered charity which provides specialist services throughout England to vulnerable people and their families.
Both Stacey, 21, and Sarah, 23, say they now have positive aspirations for the future and for their young children.
Stacey has a two-year-old boy. She grew up witnessing domestic violence between her parents as a child. Despite vowing to herself that she would never accept a violent relationship, she discovered after becoming pregnant that her partner had a police record that he hadn’t disclosed to her.
This meant intervention from social services throughout Stacey’s pregnancy, and after the baby was born.
“I couldn’t go to bed without tidying up the entire house, worrying that if I didn’t, they’d say she might be taken away,” said Stacey.
“I felt low. I was worried and stressed about what they thought and what might happen, constantly questioning myself and my ability to bring up a child.”
“I didn’t blame social services. They had to keep the baby safe. The father was a big risk.”
“He would stand outside threatening to burn my house down. I had to pay him in beer to look after my son because he wouldn’t look after him while I went to work. He hit me in front of my son. I decided I had to do something, because I knew I couldn’t allow my son to grow up thinking this is the right way to treat women.”
At Changing Lives, Stacey completed courses and one-to-one therapies. She became friends with Sarah, who has three young children.
“Every relationship I’ve been in has been abusive in one way or another, whether it’s been physical or emotional,” said Sarah.
“I found that I had eventually become the abuser.”
“Things went really sour when I was pregnant with my last child. My partner had me in headlocks, and was breaking into my house.”
“I’m feeling positive now. We [Sarah and Stacey] are going to get where we need to be, through Changing Lives.”
“There is help out there. People are willing to talk to you. I’ve come from a background of abuse, from being born. And now, I’ve got aspirations. I want to do for other people what Changing Lives has done for me.”
I've now completely turned my life around, I've got a job I love, and I've even volunteered to help other women, after I 'came out the other side'. I'm also now doing a college course to be a teaching assistant! Everything is so much better now. I just hope I can help other women to see if they can do it too. It is possible to come out the other side."
The emotional abuse started first. I was very rarely allowed to go anywhere by myself. When I was it would only be to work and even then she would phone me constantly throughout the day. I tried to leave her when this started, but she emotionally blackmailed me to stay by overdosing on tablets; which I later found out she would spit them out under the bed. She would also threaten to hurt any future girlfriends I have so badly that I wouldn’t want to be with her.
Optimistically thinking that things could get better between us I proposed to her after two years of being together. This was the biggest mistake of my life- things went dramatically downhill from that moment.
The first time she viciously attacked me was on Good Friday 2008. I don’t know why or what provoked her. She ran into the house, grabbed a knife and as soon as I walked in she was attacking me with it. She then grabbed my testicles and twisted them as hard as she could and would not let go. It was excruciatingly painful. To this day I still do not know what caused her to be so violent. She would just snap from nice to nasty in an instant.
The violence only got worse from there. The second time she attacked me, she followed me around the house punching me in the head, hitting me with a pint glass, knocked me to the flood and proceeded to drop her knee into my head repeatedly. It was ferocious and I genuinely feared for me life. I also remember on another occasion she was punching me in the eye when I was driving around a roundabout, so hard that she bruised her knuckles. I was however later in the wrong for causing the bruising. The most shocking attack however, happened on our wedding night. She really beat me, kicking and punching me repeatedly. I remember her digging her nails into my cheek, it felt like she was going to rip my cheek off. I managed to get away and ran down the road in bare feet and my wedding suit. I went back because she was threatening to hang herself with my wedding tie. I later got beaten because the cuts on my face ruined our honeymoon pictures.
She was eventually convicted of assault by beating three years ago and given a six month restraining order. She subsequently lost her job as a care assistant. I have been left with a lot of fear and I am constantly on a state of high alert. I am however in the process of explaining my experience to my therapist. I am working on dealing with what happened to me and slowly moving on. It is a long and difficult process but I now that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I will not allow her ruin my future."
She began shouting when we got in the house and smashed a mirror over my head. I had never seen this side of her before. Not wanting to make things worse, I just dropped it and slept on the couch. The next morning she came out of the bedroom as if nothing had happened, so I didn’t mention it.
A few weeks later I got a call from work to see if I could do an extra shift. I said no as I was already exhausted from night feeds and working 60 hours per week. When I got off the phone he told me to ring them back and tell them I’m coming in. I refused, I didn’t want to go to work. She started arguing saying that she wanted some new clothes. Every time I tried to talk she would shout over the top of me. All of a sudden she smashed the glass door on our living room unit and started to throw the pieces at me. I had scratches all over my face and neck. I ran to the closest people I could think of. They let me stay the night at their home. The next morning, I returned home to her crying, saying that she was sorry and it would never happen again. A few years passed before anything else happened.
In 2009 we lost our middle child. We were both distraught by this and it changed our relationship completely. She started going out a lot more, leaving me at home with our child and rolling in sometime the next day.
She was arguing more and becoming aggressive again. This continued for a few months and I eventually found out she was using cocaine and that she was cheating on me. When I confronted her about the cheating she blamed it on me for not being there for her when she lost our baby. I still loved her and was desperate to make it work and so I forgave her. After our 3rd baby was born I was left holding 2 children, working full time and doing night feeds. I started to become miserable because she would pick at me for every little thing I did. I even found out that she had spent nearly £5000 on cocaine, using it whilst the children were around.
It became a daily struggle of shouting and pushing me around. In 2013 she came in from a night out and attacked me. I ran to my neighbour’s house to phone the police but she phoned the police on me also. We were both arrested. They interviewed me straight away as I hadn’t been drinking and they had to wait for her to sober up. After she was interviewed, the police told me they would just let us both go even though I had marks on me and she didn’t.
We decided to make a fresh start after this incident and moved away as a family. Things were great for a few months, until a rumour started that I had been sleeping with someone. This was not true. A few weeks after the cheating accusations we invited a few friends over, she even invited the lady that I was accused of cheating on. Everything was going fine, everyone was enjoying themselves, even my partner and the lady I was accused of cheating with. Then out of nowhere my ex comes out with, ‘I know the truth’. It was almost as if somebody had switched a light switch and her face filled with anger. She started shouting and the other lady and I were both refusing her claims but she just wouldn’t listen. I decided to remove myself from the situation. After 10 minutes I made my way back to the house. She was stood waiting for me, then out of nowhere she started jumping on me. She was biting and scratching me all over my face. I told the kids to run upstairs to their bedrooms but they wouldn’t leave me. They were dragging at their mum to get off me. I managed to break free, grabbed the kids and made it into my bedroom I pushed the bed up against the door the kids were crying. I saw the house phone on the bed so I phoned the police. Before I knew it, she barged into the bedroom. She pushed me down on the bed and bit at my eye and ear. She continued to viciously attack me, with our children in the room.
I eventually managed to get out of the house and shortly after the police and ambulance turned up. The police took a statement and pictures as well as the clothes I was wearing. The next day I was phoned by the police telling me that they were pressing charges. I was given custody of the children and she was only allowed supervised access. We were free from her and my children and I are finally safe, happy and making a fresh start".
Thankfully, I am now out of my difficult situation but I would like to share it with others to give them hope that they can get out of it too.
In May 2009, I got married to my partner I had been with for around 3 years. We had a good relationship and got on well with each other. The first three months of our marriage was excellent and we really enjoyed each others company. However, when I was promoted at work she became very insecure about our relationship as I had to increase the hours I was working. She resented my promotion so much and she wanted me to give it up, along with my £50k salary and take a smaller job as a bin man. When I refused to do this, she hit me for the first time ever. I have never been hit by anyone I have been in a relationship with before and it shock me so much. Following a great deal of saying sorry we eventually went to bed and nothing was said about it.
Between January and April 2010 I would receive a hit across the face, shoes or plates thrown at me. It became the routine of how things were. I would come back from work, have something to eat, we would argue about my job and then I would get hit. This was my normal life for four months.
One Saturday night I told her that I did not love her anymore because she was being so violent to me on a regular basis. I don't remember too much from this point onwards. I remember being curled up in a ball on the corner of the landing with punches and kicks raining down on me.
Eventually it stopped. She ran out of the house and drove off in a rage. I calmly packed my things and left. In some ways it was a difficult decision to make because I was unsure about what she would do to herself but in other ways it was really easy. At no point did I have to put up with this.
She was the person who was meant to love me more than anyone else and she treated me in this way? I stayed at a hotel for a few nights and then moved to more permanent accommodation.
I never met up with her or spoke to her again. However, the abuse did not stop there. She utilised me leaving as an opportunity to show that I was in the wrong for leaving her. She convinced my brothers that I was in the wrong. I showed my mum the bruises on my arms and back, she was physically sick.
Happily, the move away from my former wife was the best move I ever made. I have now found a new partner and a daughter, life if so much better. If I hadn't made the decision to leave, I don't know where I would be now."
Hayley's behaviour became ever more controlling and manipulative as the months went by. She would check my emails, text messages and Facebook account. She also hacked into these account and sent text messages to my female friends from my phone pretending to be me.
Hayley became violent towards me. She threw a laptop, threatened me repeatedly, destroyed another computer and would soak my sons (from a previous relationship) ironing once I had completed it. She singled my son out at meal times and often refused to allow him to eat desert. She would also serve his last and slam his plate down in front of him.
He witnessed her shouting, slamming doors at me and indulging in long periods of ignoring / isolating behaviour.
Hayley also prevented me from maintaining relationships with friends by constant questioning, checking behaviours - it was easier for me to not go out that face a barrage of questions.
Hayley threw me out of the house we shared, started drinking (began phoning friends and family telling the most abhorrent lies about me and spreading rumours that I was using pornography) and took an overdose - all within two month of our baby daughter being born, I later found out she had been drinking throughout this period. Despite all of this I decided to try again with the relationship but it only lasted another 5 months before I had to leave.
When I left Hayley told a social worker that I had been violent and abusive towards her. The social worker advised her that I was to have no unsupervised contact - I was never invited to the meeting or allowed to put forward my side of things. I never received minutes of this meeting. Hayley also lied to the Police that I had stolen some of her possessions - this prevented me from being able to recover my things before she moved out of the house we rented. I lost virtually all of my things and an £800 deposit on the house. She telephoned the police the day before to say they were going to arrest me that she had found the items.
For the past 14 months I have had sporadic contact with my daughter and Hayley still spreads lies and abuses me through the phone, text and email. She has threatened to lose me my job and contact with my son if I put in an application for a court order.
My life is getting better slowly but it has been a living hell for almost three years now but I know I have a future and will now fight for custody of my son."
Graham was married to his wife for 10 years before he felt strong enough to leave and divorce her.
During their marriage his wife was violent to both him and their son. She had a drink problem, which only made the violence worse. But she would use this as an excuse after every attack and promised to change. Graham even tried to commit suicide twice throughout their marriage because he did not know where to go for help.
During the final attack, Graham was stabbed in the head by his wife. He managed to leave the house bleeding profusely and got to a public telephone. He just about managed to ring 999 before he collapsed. He woke up in hospital with no memory of how he got there.
Throughout the relationship Graham told no one of the abuse he was suffering. She had made him feel like it was his fault and he blamed himself for all of it.
After they separated, Graham was kept from seeing his son for 2 years. But following a very lengthy Court process he was eventually granted sole custody and has brought his son up alone ever since.
For years following the divorce, Graham found it very hard to enter into another relationship as it was difficult for him to trust women. However, recently he has formed a new relationship and it is going very well for them both."
Survivor poemI met you through a friend,
When I was feeling small,
She didn’t know you very well
but I thought it worth a call.
The first time I met you I found you so honest, your previous girlfriend sounded crazy I promise!
You moved straight in on the second day,
You promised me you would never go away,
You told me you loved me
I couldn’t believe my luck,
Who’d want a young Mum with two kids running amuck?
You texted and phoned me all day long
leaving me lists of things you wanted done
You cared so much you asked where I was
You liked me at home where I couldn’t get lost
When my friends came around
you would not be too happy
You said that they used me and that made you snappy.
My family didn’t like you but I couldn’t see why
You loved me so much it made me want to cry.
You thought it would be best if we moved far away,
My family wouldn’t care, they wouldn’t have a say.
It would be best if we didn’t tell a soul,
We just needed to move that was the goal,
I didn’t want to move I had just had a baby, I weren’t sure I would manage no job and no family.
I had started to wonder what I had done wrong and began to notice anger where once there was song.
I needed to get, everything done, the mess in house, he said looked like a slum.
Before I knew it there was another on the way, he found it funny how I didn’t have a say.
I began to wonder how I’d ever got here, by now I was living practically every day in fear.
It wasn’t the punches, the screaming and shouting, that I could take it was the silence that was drowning.
The looks and the glances, the anger in your face, the nights led awake, the dark I learned to hate.
I would try to get changed
with the door firmly locked, a glance of my body would be all that it took.
I even learned how to bend down the other way; never leaving anything on display.
The silent tears that would roll down my cheeks, were ignored but then course I was so weak.
The next one arrived and this caused more trouble, they wanted me to hold them, they wanted a cuddle.
They cried and cried but you chastised them for just being alive.
A few months later another was growing,
I was sick, of all sowing, you didn’t like the ones that you had nor me it would seem, you were certainly no Dad.
You told me I would lose them if I ever told the truth, I covered for you constantly afraid of what you’d do.
One day an angel reached out to me, I couldn’t take no more ya see,
You didn’t know I’d met her for sure and even I weren’t sure what she was for.
Bit by bit, I told her how it was,
I asked her why she came to me she said it’s just because.
It took two years and many more assaults, control & rapes but I’m glad I took the step that day and a statement I did make.
The damage done to all my kids astounds me still today they’re victims too not witnesses and this I have to say.
I still look over my shoulder now, I guess I always will but I’m glad I stopped taking that coercive control pill.
Need to talk?
For confidential advice, information and support, call our domestic abuse service on 01302 737080.
Remember, always call 999 in an emergency.
Downloads & Resources
- Survivor self referral form-1
- Download (23KB - DOCX)
- Survivor Liaison Service - Yearly report
- Download (3.21MB - PDF)
- DARI - Information for survivor support 2023
- Download (15KB - DOCX)
- DARI - Self referral form Survivor
- Download (25KB - DOCX)
- DARI - Survivor Group Poster 2023
- Download (591KB - DOCX)
- PASHTO - Information sheet for survivor support 2023
- Download (205KB - PDF)
- PASHTO - Self referral form Survivor
- Download (45KB - PDF)
- PASHTO Survivor Group Poster 2023
- Download (218KB - PDF)
- ARABIC - Information for survivor support 2023
- Download (14KB - DOCX)
- ARABIC - Self referral form Survivor
- Download (22KB - DOCX)
- ARABIC - Survivor Group Poster 2023
- Download (202KB - DOCX)
- UKRAINIAN - Information for survivor support 2023
- Download (16KB - DOCX)
- UKRAINIAN - Survivor Group Poster 2023
- Download (15KB - DOCX)
- UKRAINIAN - Self referral form Survivor
- Download (26KB - DOCX)
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