Although the majority of parents using our domestic abuse services are mothers, we do help dads as well. Alan (not his real name) is one father who called our domestic abuse helpline, set up in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak
Alan was so devastated after his wife left with their two daughters that he contemplated taking his own life. He quickly found himself caught up in a bitter legal battle over how much contact he could have with their children.
Family practitioner, Caroline Regan, explains: “His wife had alleged that she was the victim of domestic abuse, yet Alan said he had been assaulted by his wife. But mostly he described their 15 year marriage as being a loving relationship.”
Alan didn’t have the means to represent himself in court – he wasn’t able to work since suffering an accident at work for which he is seeking compensation.
Caroline said: “Following the split, his mental health deteriorated and he struggled not seeing his daughters, despite making many attempts through the court, through school and through the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.”
CAFCASS is an organisation that represents children in family court cases in England.
Alan contacted our domestic abuse helpline after learning about Children North East from a local mental health charity and, after contacting the domestic abuse helpline, has been receiving telephone support and home visits from our Families and Parenting team.
Family practitioner, Caroline, provided Alan with guidance in relation to his communication with legal teams and helped refocus his attention on utilising his skills productively and away from ruminating on the court case and his compensation claim at work.
Caroline said: “We changed his daily routine to deflect from his rituals of reviewing court material and we created a safety plan to allow him to make contact with friends and professionals if he required additional emotional support.
“We also encouraged Alan to have a plan going forward so he had a vision, a focus and an achievable aim.”
Improved mental health
After six weeks, his mental health had considerably improved and he is making plans to move away from the area but not so far that he cannot travel to see his daughters.
Caroline added: “He is now doing his own radio broadcasts, using his skills in poetry and song writing and is in touch with others worldwide with a mutual interest.
“He accepts that he will see his children in the future, albeit not as frequently as he would have liked.”
He now places value on himself and believes he is a man with many talents and can see a positive future ahead, away from the dark days of being all-consumed by the court, the legal process and not feeling listened to and being judged.