Posted 13/07/2022

Spotting the signs of domestic violence

It can be difficult for people who are victims of domestic abuse to recognise that it is happening to them. Denial or family ties can also create a barrier to getting help.

Swan Neighbourhood Officer, Caroline Maloney, recently dealt with a case where a mum, who we will call Debbie, was being abused by her son, who we’ll call David. It was Caroline’s expertise and training that finally gave Debbie the confidence to formally report the abuse and put an end to years of upset.

Debbie described how her son wouldn’t let her use the upstairs of the house and the emotional abuse she had been subjected to over the years.

The abuse peaked when Debbie decided to enter a same sex relationship, which caused a further strain on the relationship she had with her son. It got so bad that Debbie’s partner refused to visit the house and the relationship ended at one point because of it.

Caroline knew from the conversations she was having with Debbie that the situation needed intervention and that Debbie was suffering from domestic violence, but because of her loyalty and duty as a mother she felt unable to deal with it.

Over time, Caroline got Debbie to open up about the problems she was having and eventually Caroline was able to help assure her that her son didn’t have any rights to live in the home. Caroline explained how it was her tenancy and that a solution could be reached where he would move out.

Caroline said: “I kept calling her and getting her to open up a bit more each time we spoke and kept guiding her and correcting her when she felt her son’s behaviour was okay or not that bad.

“She had been worried that her son had rights as a household occupant, so I explained that what he was saying was incorrect and advised I would welcome his call if she wanted to tell him to call me.

“I have worked closely with her and after years of abuse she has now had the courage to report matters to the police, take it to court and has obtained an injunction against him where he agreed in court to move out and stay away.”

Since David moved out, he has not breached the injunction and Debbie can now enjoy her house without being on edge.