Posted on: 10 November, 2022
Colin reached out to us in January 2020 when things got too much for him at home. A banker working full time in a good job, he lived with his wife and 10-year old son in a nice home which they owned jointly. But things were not all good. Colin came to us looking for advice because he was concerned about the effect that his wife’s behaviour was having on his son. He described that she was verbally abusive towards him and was using his credit cards when he didn’t have the money, without his consent and against his wishes.
Cranstoun visited Colin at his home to assess the situation. The key worker identified coercive control and both financial and verbal abuse. According to the Office of National Statistics, one in 6-7 men in the UK will be a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime, and nearly half (49%) will fail to tell anyone because of the associated shame and stigma.
In the months that followed, Cranstoun worked with Colin to support, protect and guide him. He was advised to contact social services to safeguard his son; to contact the Safeguarding Lead at the police and to apply for a ‘Prohibited his Steps Order, which would legally prevent his wife from taking their son overseas as she had threatened. Colin was also encouraged to make an appointment with his GP to address his mental health issues, where he was prescribed antidepressants.
Colin was now equipped with the information and tools that he would need to make changes, and a platform where could discuss his concerns. He didn’t want to leave the family home because of his son, and he was worried about having to pay for legal fees. But he was beginning to understand that he was a victim, and that his son was a victim as well.
In March of the same year things came to a head. Colin came home from work to find that his wife had ordered a fridge freezer that they didn’t need and couldn’t afford. In the argument that followed she called the police who advised that she should go and stay with family. She left taking their son. The police had witnessed her threatening behaviour towards Colin and suggested that he changed the locks to the property, which he did. When Colin’s wife couldn’t get in a few days later she was furious, and tried to break in. Once again the police were called. Colin arranged for her to come round a few days later, at a convenient time, to collect her things. He tried to be reasonable but was met with continued abuse.
As the weeks progressed, Colin’s wife refused to let him see his son and demanded large amounts of money off him, although she was also working full time and despite Colin still having to pay for their mortgage, the bills, his legal fees and the money he was sending to the family with whom his son (and wife) were staying. Colin was worried that he would lose his home and would not be able to hold down his job. He felt that his wife would know this, and this was why she was behaving in that way.
Cranstoun continued to support and encourage Colin. He was advised to keep a detailed record of all of his finances, including the money he was sending for his son’s upkeep. In the meantime, Colin’s wife applied for a Non Visitation Order against the opinion of social services, as well as Non Molestation and Occupation Orders to prevent Colin from being in their home. The hearings were set for early July, and both parties were asked not to contact each other. Colin’s wife refused.
On the day of the hearing, Colin’s wife changed her mind and withdrew Court Order applications. She still felt that she should have access to the home, but when the judge heard the evidence he felt that this was not advisable. For Colin, the best news was that a child contact arrangement hearing was scheduled for the end of the month. There was hope that Colin would be allowed to see his son again.
Colin is now in control, feels empowered, knows better how to react and where to turn to for help. Cranstoun has closed the case, but Colin knows he can pick up the phone at any time.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, please visit our domestic abuse pages to find out where you can find help.
If you would like to find out more about our male domestic abuse support services in Birmingham please click here.
We have used the name Colin to protect our client’s identity