What have we learnt this week?
Its been a quieter week this week, with things starting to slowly settle back to normal, probably to the relief to those who listen to the programme to escape from real life.
There’s been some good news for Helen, as it looks as if she’s been found a well-renowned Barrister who specializes in ‘women’s issues’. This will be crucial for her. There appears to be little by way of concrete evidence of the abuse she suffered from Rob, and if the attitude of the investigation team is anything to go by, the prosecution are unlikely to put much effort into finding any. Helen will be well advised to meet her and agree to work with her.
We’ve heard this week that Rob is out of the woods. Only time will tell if that proves to be right. BUT spare a thought for Helen. She will know that if she ends up in court opposite him on a charge of attempted murder, he will use all his charm, manipulation, and manufactured concern for Helen, to further intimidate her and get the sympathy of the Jury. Indeed government guidance on the new laws of coercive control state “Perpetrators can be particularly adept at manipulating professionals, agencies and systems, and may use a range of tactics in relation to this offence.”
A scenario which also plays out on a daily basis up and down the country in family courts where abused parents battle to protect their children from abusers, but instead come out further traumatised and intimidated, with the prospect of the abuse continuing as a result of shared contact judgements. And an overwhelming sense of failure to protect their children.
We’ve heard little about Henry and how he is coping, except we know that he has not gone back to school this week because he is too distressed. We also know he is unlikely to be able to see his beloved mother in the foreseeable future because he is the key witness to the events that night. At this early stage the most important thing for him is to feel safe and secure with those caring for him. We assume that’s the case here. So often though these children are the center of battles between maternal and paternal carers, with the understandable anger and distress being felt by those families being played out in front of an already confused and traumatised young child. We believe there are about 200 children a year bereaved as a result of domestic homicide, and countless others suffering huge disruption in their lives after serious domestic violence. Whilst there are some amazing organisations out there who are ready to give them much needed support, it’s too often the case that they don’t get access to them, in part due to lack of awareness and in part due to the chaotic environment they are thrown into. Social workers do fantastic work but don’t all receive specialist training in the complex effect of these crimes to ensure the right decisions are made at the early stages to give the children the best chance of long term well being.
In the meantime Henry would do well to re-establish a routine and going back to school is his best way to achieve that in the short term. Lets hope this week sees Henry get back to his friends and the familiarity of school. This is going to be a long journey for this little lad.