“For me working for NCDV is a vocation rather than a job. I feel privileged to work for NCDV, an organisation that provides a free service to obtain emergency civil injunctions for domestic abuse survivors.
I am particularly delighted when we obtain injunctions for survivors who mirror the position I was in; I was not entitled to Legal Aid and I could not afford a solicitor.
I was a police officer for 30 years, during this time I was in a long-term relationship. In this relationship I endured 11 years of domestic violence, I suffered all the strands domestic abuse crime has to offer.
I never imagined that the man I fell in love with and married would become my abuser and eventually, because of his actions; I would provide evidence that would send him to prison. All too often we forget that domestic abuse knows no boundaries, it saddens me when I hear ‘It would never happen to me “or “Why doesn’t she leave?’
Due to the abuse I gradually became isolated from my family and friends. I was embarrassed for putting up with the abuse and increasingly I could not see a way out. As a police professional I faced additional barriers; I was fearful should there be counter allegations I might be arrested, as on occasions my husband received injuries when I was acting in self-defence.
Work became my crutch, I stayed longer and longer at work, being fearful of what to expect upon my return home. I started to police my own case, thinking what would the likely outcome be? I thought I would report something when there were witnesses, sadly when assaults occurred in public, no one intervened.
Due to financial abuse my money was no longer my own. My husband took money for alcohol, gambling and cigarettes, I could not afford petrol for my car and I bought my clothes from charity shops. I didn’t have the fees for a refuge; besides I did not want to leave my home or pets.
I became aware of NCDV; I knew NCDV would have been a lifeline in assisting me to obtain Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders, but unfortunately at that time they did not cover the area I lived. My only option was to go to court by myself as a litigant in person, at this point, like so many others, I did not have the courage or strength to do this and so the abuse continued.
When I first reported an assault to the police, despite my husband pleading guilty, I was let down by the courts. My husband was not working and not in receipt of benefits due to my salary, I found myself paying his court costs; also, because there was no other option to his living arrangements he returned to live with me. He pleaded about how sorry he was and promised the abuse would not continue.
Unfortunately, the abuse continued. I started to keep a diary, where possible trying to corroborate incidents. I again reported offences; the diary assisted in bringing the criminal charges that would eventually imprison my husband and result in an indefinite restraining order.
We divorced when my husband was in prison and yes it cost me a lot financially, but I am now happy. If I am out it is because I am enjoying my life, not deliberately staying out because I am fearful of returning home.
My diary now includes something positive each day, it could be the pleasure of walking on a beach, or positive thoughts for the victims who we have assisted that day.
Although it has taken me a long time, I am a survivor.
I implore victims to seek help, not to wait as long as I did.”