My name is Louise; I am the mother of a 14-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by my ex-partner. This was discovered by me when I found videos of my daughters abuse on a family i-Phone he used to film what he was doing. After I discovered the videos I immediately called the police. He was then arrested by the police and I was taken to the police station to give a lengthy statement and was told my daughter would be appointed a social worker.
I don’t feel like my daughter got enough support. She was only contacted once by the social worker and I was contacted twice. On the second occasion it was only to tell me I was deemed a responsible parent and my daughter no longer needed social work assistance. They did not take in to account the emotional trauma my daughter and I were going through and how we did not have the skills to cope with this. I felt social work were of no help to me at all regarding the situation and no help whatsoever to my daughter. I felt like they just wanted to walk away and leave me to deal with it all on my own. I didn’t know what to do, no parent expects to have to deal with something like this.
I was then put in touch with the Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre. I called to see if my daughter could have an appointment to speak to someone there, someone who knew how to support her. We were very fortunate, we got an appointment quickly. When I was taking my daughter to Rape Crisis for the first time she was very apprehensive but her support worker Lauren was really good and made my daughter feel comfortable. This helped her to return each week and get the support she needed and to confide in Lauren confidentially. Lauren also helped my daughter cope with the different feelings she was having and built up coping skills she could use when she was at home.
Whilst my daughter was getting support from Lauren I was told that Glasgow Rape Crisis also offered Family & Friends Support and I was asked if I wanted to be placed on the waiting list for this; I said yes. I then started getting support on a weekly basis from Paula, one of the support workers there. Paula has been a source of strength to me throughout this whole process. She assured me that I was not to blame for my daughter’s abuse. I was having feelings of guilt because the abuser was my ex-partner and as a parent you feel responsible, but Paula helped me realise that the only person to blame was him.
My daughter’s abuser pled guilty to the sexual abuse; as he had filmed it there was no way his lawyer would risk a court case. This meant my daughter did not have to attend court and give evidence, which I was thankful for but I was disappointed that he would not get a lengthier prison sentence, I had to weigh up that this was better for my daughter.
Although he had pled guilty and would be sentenced I wanted to be there. I wanted to show him that I was strong and I was glad he was being punished for what he did to my daughter. Paula attended all the court dates with me and was very supportive to me during this extremely distressing time.
During this whole time, which was about 10 months, Paula supported me in various issues that I had around the police investigation and the court proceedings, even down to recovering my items from police evidence which was proving very difficult. Paula also helped me with an official complaint against the police. During the investigating process there were, in my opinion, many failings by the police that only added to my distress. Paula helped by getting in touch with the right people so I could give a statement about my concerns, Paula also gave a statement as she was a witness to my distress and frustration throughout the whole process. This complaint is currently being investigated.
Paula also helped me to give feedback about the justice process to the Crown Office, I met with a senior advocate there and was able to tell her as a parent how it feels to be invisible within the criminal justice system and how I felt my daughters best interest came second to the abusers’. It really helped me come to terms with the trauma that me and daughter went through and I felt like it gave me a chance to have a voice and, more importantly, a voice for my daughter whose feelings and needs were repeatedly ignored.
Personally I cannot recommend the Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre enough. Their support and advocacy has been instrumental in helping my daughter and I recover from this terrible experience. I feel they have helped me regain my confidence to speak out about the injustices parents and children who have been sexually abused have to endure.
If anyone ever found themselves in this horrific situation they should contact Rape Crisis for advice and support which in my opinion is second to none.