Amanda was referred to The Haven after she was subjected to physical and financial abuse. She was physically and verbally assaulted, manipulated and controlled by the perpetrator who also raped and sexually assaulted her. She was encouraged to report the rape, and the case was transferred to Birmingham where the incident took place.
She was very depressed and had lost her sense of self-worth because of the abuse she endured. While struggling to deal mentally with the rape, she moved out and left her four children with their father who was also the perpetrator. He then stopped all her contact with the children.
An independent sexual violence advisor from The Haven supported Amanda in court when she attempted to get a child arrangement order. The children were put on a child protection plan. Their father agreed through his solicitors to support the order, however this never happened. He accused Amanda of being unfit citing her mental health and stopped contacting her altogether.
Amanda was then forced to attend a contact centre to see her youngest child. He had brainwashed the older children. She felt let down by social care and the court system as she does not believe that they considered the impact on her mental health or the control that the father has over the older children.
She has spent over a thousand pounds in legal and court fees just to see the youngest child and after 12 months this has still not happened even though a court order is in place. Amanda also feels let down by the police as the rape case is still ongoing. She has lost trust in agencies.
Since coming to The Haven, Amanda has been working with an independent sexual violence advisor. She has not been able to complete the Freedom Programme for women who are victims of domestic abuse as she found it too “emotionally draining”.
Amanda recognises that the perpetrator isolated her, controlled her, then weaponised her mental health to keep the children away. She said she was so isolated, she did not realise that there were services available to support her.
Amanda will be sharing her story with the Houses of Parliament.
Amanda’s name has been changed to protect her identity. Images are for illustration purposes only.