Case Study 

A referral 5 years earlier to children’s services reported domestic violence in the home where there were 4 young children. The mother was under the influence of illegal substances and had hit the father with a bottle in the head causing a cut. The father reported being a victim of domestic violence but later retracted the allegation.  There was no further action from Children’s Services.

2019 – A referral to children’s services regarding the   mother picking up the children from school appearing disorientated.

Initially the father was reluctant  to meet the social worker until  the children were subject to child protection plans. During the meeting, the social worker used specific interview techniques to elicit information from the father. He confirmed that he was a victim of domestic abuse but was too worried about not being believed.

Our Approach

The children were subject to Child Protection (CP) plans, and within the first 3 months, a member of Mayday’s team was commissioned to provide discreet 1 to 1 support over 6 sessions in which he revealed a volatile  10-year relationship.  The father explained his experiences which our worker identified as Gaslighting. She explained he was experiencing cognitive dissonance and how this was impacting on his ability to safeguard himself and his children.

Only 4 weeks after the 3-month Review Child Protection Conference (RCPC), a robust safety plan was put in place to protect the children and their father due to a combination of presenting risks. We estimated that this father was at the 4th stage of the 8-stage pattern, which, according to Criminologist, Dr Jane Monckton Smith, can lead from domestic abuse to death.

In our work, we also utilised the Family Group Conference (FGC) process to bring together a network of safe people (family and friends) and trained them about the signs of and how to support victims of Coercive Control.

With support from our worker, the father attended the police station and made a formal disclosure including recordings of threats by the mother to kill him. The Police immediately arrested the mother and applied for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) covering 28 days to protect him. Within the 28 days, the father made an application to the Court or and was granted a Non-Molestation Order for 12 months. The Judge hearing the application decided to include all of the children in the Order.

The ‘safety plan’ for the father and the children’ was taken into account in the Judge’s decision.

By empowering the father with our specialist knowledge prevented this case from going to Public Law Outline (PLO). Not only did this prevent significant expenditure but it resulted in the children being safeguarded from harm.


Here is what a member of the family wrote about our method of working!

Dear Alison,

“Thanks to you and Elaine I am now a very relieved Grandfather!

On reflection now, if it had not been down to Elaine’s observations during her social work on recognising that my son was a victim of Domestic Violence and requesting your support as a Domestic Violence Consultant, our  Grandchildren could have ended up being in a far darker place. I am indebted to both of you for ensuring my grandchildren are now safe from harm!

Domestic Violence is now a very troubling area in our society, my genuine hope is that Elaine will carry on through with her undoubted skills in evaluating situations that may not be all that apparent at the time to the untrained eye. This skill saved my 4 grandchildren!

Regards and best wishes from a very grateful Grandfather!”

Client Feedback

  • Without Alison’s involvement, Social Care would have placed my children with their father as I would never have been able to convince professionals that he was a risk to the girls. He was very convincing and made the Social Worker think I had mental health problems but due to Alison’s knowledge of Coercive Control, she exposed his behaviour to the Social Worker and helped me to protect my 2 daughters. When I initially spoke to the GP about my concerns, I was horrified they signposted me to Healthy Minds indicating I had mental health problems and I just felt nobody understood what I was going through. If my GP had been trained in this area. I might have got help earlier and not spent so many years going around in circles. Sarah, Berkshire
  • Alison has turned my legal case around and I’m no longer a nervous wreck and my children are now safe. Her knowledge of narcissistic personality disorder and the techniques to manage their behaviour at their worst is life-changing for victims and all professionals need to be trained as these behaviours are placing children at risk. I can now live my life without fear and I am making huge progress due to the support and advice Alison has given me. Her approach and tools would support all professionals to recognise children living in households where narcissism is present. JM, Oxford
  • In 2018 I visited my doctor as I thought I was going mad and was prescribed antidepressants having told him I was having relationship issues. After attempting counselling and wondering why things weren’t changing, I was given Alison’s details and she confirmed I was a victim of Coercive Control. With her support and advice, she guided me through the Court process to safeguard my children and to take back control of my life. I feel it is so very important for professionals to understand how coercive control affects the victims. I personally know someone with a small baby who has been suicidal due to manipulation and gaslighting from her ex and I have been able to advise her and enlisted Alison to support her, she now has her eyes wide open and won’t let him control her thoughts and emotions anymore and her baby daughter is now able to bond with her mum again. Kirsty, Herefordshire
  • As a 45 -year-old father of 3 boys and having called the Police 4 times in the past 7 years I had given up trying to prove my wife was alienating the children and causing the arguments. Thanks to Alison’s advice and support, my Social Worker now realises that I am the victim and not the perpetrator and my wife has been issued with a non-molestation order. Nobody can imagine what it’s like to be accused of putting your children at risk when you are trying to protect them. Alison has this great tool she uses and it’s as if she knew my wife already but had never met her. We never actually met as I live in Middlesbrough but we did most of our sessions through skype and I kept telling her my children are being harmed by their mum. I was shocked that she instantly knew what I was talking about and she even told me some of the things my children would be doing which reassured me I was not losing my mind. I think that although some Police Officers have training in Coercive Control, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The support I have been given  is exceptional and if Social Workers understood this type of abuse children would be much safer. Doug, Middlesbrough