A Derry woman has spoken of her battle to regain access to her son who is now living with the abusive ex-partner she left to protect the boy.
In the beginning of the relationship the woman said she had felt “like I was living the dream,” but quite quickly, his “sudden, volatile temper and irrational behaviour soon became my normal.”
A few years into the relationship, she fell pregnant and the abuse intensified. “When my beautiful son was born I was so happy but I felt so anxious about what the future was going to hold for us. My ex-partner must have also sensed my growing fear, and that is the moment when he pulled the curtain round my hospital bed and put his fist up to my face. He whispered in my ear, ‘If you ever try to leave me I will kill you’.”
Days after they returned home from hospital her partner, she claimed, “lost it completely,” trashing their bedroom, “throwing anything he could get his hands on in my direction.”
She ran to a neighbour’s house for help.
“I realised this was the final straw and I left.”
She said her partner promised he would change, but when she refused to go back to him he started “playing dirty” and contacted Social Services and told them she was unstable. The woman’s health visitor, however, convinced Social Services the claims were purely based on retaliation and she had managed to create a new life for herself and her son until “the day I was plunged head first into a very dark hole that landed me straight into hell.
“That same day my son told me he was going to live with his dad if I didn’t let him play with his XBox. When my son ran out of the house and his father picked him up he then took him to his home in the South of Ireland.”
The woman said she immediately tried to get help through the court system, while worrying that her ex-partner would manipulate her son even more.
She has not seen or spoken to her son in years.
Her experience of the judicial system over the following 18 months she said left her feeling “hopeless and suicidal” and she said she has now gathered the strength, with the help of La Dolce Vita, to fight for her son through the judicial system in the Republic of Ireland.