We met Louise* (Name has been changed) in 2019 following a referral from the National Centre for Domestic Violence after they had been contacted by the police attending to Louise.
Louise was a 26-year-old mother to a young child living in East Sussex.
Having been in a long-term, abusive relationship with the father of her child since her early teens she struggled to understand what a normal, healthy relationship looked like and a cycle of abuse ensued.
Louise was a victim of domestic abuse, she was physically, verbally and emotionally abused throughout the relationship. She struggled to leave the house without feeling his rage and was constantly accused of cheating on him.
On one occasion. when Louise tried to end their relationship, he threw his game console at her, hitting her in the head, waking their daughter who witnessed the commotion and Louise’s distress.
On another occasion Louise was strangled by her partner, he would also put Louise down in front of their daughter telling her ‘not to use the same cup’ as her mum because she had AIDS.
Eventually, Louise bravely managed to end the relationship, but the abuse continued. He was able to continue his control and abuse through contact with their daughter. Louise was also harassed by her ex and his new partner whilst outside in the local community.
The abuse escalated, he attended Louise’s home, making threats which were witnessed by her family when collecting their daughter for contact. The abuse continued even when served with a non-molestation order (NMO), if Louise refused contact due to his abuse, he would threaten to take the child from school which he was able to do due to shared parental responsibility. The situation was extremely distressing for Louise and therefore a court order to prevent this was sought.
The team at National Legal Service applied for an ex parte non-molestation order which was granted following the ongoing threats to Louise. The team also applied for a prohibited steps order (PSO) in respect of threats to remove their child which was granted at the return hearing for the non-molestation proceedings.
The next stage in the process was to consider the wider child arrangements, during those proceedings, the respondent failed to provide drug test results and was absent from the directions hearing.
In his absence, the PSO and child arrangement – Live With order were made final and his application for an order to spend time with the child was dismissed.
Louise and her daughter are now both safe and settled in a confidential address out of the area with these protective orders in place.