Ms Fields’ Family Story

 “Mum wasn’t getting better so I knew something was going to change…”


For as long as I could remember, I had always lived with my Mum. When I saw her  mental health getting worse and worse, I realised she could no longer take care of me the way she once could. It broke my heart to say goodbye, and I had to move in with my Dad. I had not seen him in quite a while, and things were really hard at first. I missed my Mum so much but I didn’t know what to do.

Someone told Dad about a charity called Voice of the Child that helps families, and we got their details. Soon after, we organised something called Supervised Contact at their family centre.

 

We all lived pretty far away from the centre, and Mum tried to travel to see me there many  times, but she never did make it. Her anxiety had gotten so bad she could no longer travel.  I was heartbroken but felt entirely helpless.

Then, something amazing happened! VOC contacted all the churches in Mum’s local area,  and one of them had said we could use one of their rooms. A family support worker would  meet us there with Mum, and help support me with the Contact session. Mum and I both felt safe there, and we were able to see each other far more regularly after that.                       

I loved spending time with her at the church. We played games, did homework and I told her all about my new friends at school. The support lady was there with us the whole time, which made us stay calm and happy.

 After some time, she told us that Mum and I could see each other on our own now. I was sad to say goodbye to the lady, but so happy Mum and I could spend more alone time together!

 

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Ms Shaloome’s Family Story

“After Mummy left us, Daddy stopped talking, too. I had no one to talk to…”

I had just turned five years old when Mummy left. She had been fighting with Daddy for a long time and she just got up and left us. We stayed with Daddy and didn’t see Mummy for nine, whole months. I know there were more fights with them but Daddy hid it from us. I was scared sometimes because Daddy would be out late and I didn’t have anyone talk to as my brother, Nick, went quiet.

After a while, we were told we were going to see Mummy again at a family centre. I did not want to see Mummy. I was angry that she left us and she never told me why. I knew my parents didn’t agree on things, but what did that have to do with us? We were left scared and alone, and I didn’t know how to say this to her. My brother Nick didn’t want to go either, and he didn’t come to the first meeting.

I decided to go to the first meeting, but I was scared. The nice people at the support centre told me just to say hello and see how I felt. So I did. The first time I saw Mummy, I burst into tears and ran right into her arms! It felt so good to be cuddled by her again. When I told Mummy that Nick wasn’t coming, she cried. It made me feel so bad. 

When I went home, Nick made me feel really bad again for seeing Mummy, and I told Daddy I didn’t want to see her again. We had to go speak to the support people at the centre and talk about why we were upset. Daddy was told to talk to us more and remind us that we were allowed to make our own decisions.

Next time, Daddy and Mummy spoke together at the centre first. Voice of the Child helped my parents talk to each other better, and learn how to agree on what was best for us as their children. I am really grateful for the help from the centre, as after that things got a lot easier for all of us.

Nick and I both wanted to see Mummy now, so the next session was very nice. Nick and Mummy cried a lot, and I was just happy to see my family together again!

From today, our sessions aren’t supervised anymore, and Nick comes to every session now. We see Mummy every two weeks, and we have other support whenever we need it. I really enjoy our VOC sessions at the centre as they are helping bring my family back together. I already can’t wait for next week!

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The Martell’s Family Story

“Something about The Martell’s circumstances blew us away and we knew how much we had to help them…”

The Martell’s story is something that stood out to us, even as we work with them to do this day. We’ve helped many families with a history of domestic violence, but this was different. The pain was incredibly visible and we knew how badly they all needed our help.

There had been alleged domestic abuse between Mum and Dad, and they had separated. They had agreed on regular contact with their child until the Mother discovered photos of the Father using drugs on social media. Shortly after, the Father was caught speeding with their child in the car. This only fueled the negativity in the family and it soon became a stalemate. The Father went for drug tests to prove his innocence, and he came out trumps. Contact was resumed despite the circumstances even though the Mother was extremely nervous. The family had decided to come to us as opposed to trying independently, and we believe this helped them tenfold.

The date of their first session with us came around and tensions were high. The Mother arrived early and grew increasingly emotional about leaving the child to go into contact with the Father. We reassured her this was what was best for her child, and she slowly agreed. We watched as the Father nervously approached his child, and slowly introduced toys and games to ease the tension. The child played happily but didn’t speak a word. We see this often at VOC, so we weren’t too worried. We encouraged Dad to keep trying, so he showed his child some old photographs and we remember seeing a couple of smiles! This was progress nonetheless. 

Despite this, during the next time of contact, the child refused to leave their Mother and was crying uncontrollably. We decided to call off contact that day because the child was in clear distress, and we always focus on the child’s needs before others.

A while after, we arranged for the Father to be placed in a contact room that was connected to another room where the child’s Mother was. This time, the Father had brought along his own Mother for moral support, as she had developed a strong relationship with the child. When the Mother and child arrived, we explained the room set up to them, and that their child could choose to go between each room as they pleased. This system worked well and the Father was able to engage well with his child. We watched as they played games and chatted away merrily, and smiled as we saw the little one occasionally poke his head around the door to check Mum was still there. This little bit of reassurance was all the child needed to feel comfortable around their Father again.

Following this form of contact, we put a plan in place to slowly remove the Mother from the situation to allow the Father and his child to rebuild the trust in their relationship in a secure and stable space. This was a great success, and the family has now completed four sessions with us in this capacity. We are extremely hopeful for the future of the Martell family and hope we can continue to do everything we can to help them.         

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