"When we did reach out for support or when we were caught by the police, social services or someone else, we faced the issues you'll read about in this report. The picture is bleak, and we think that the services which are there to support and help people are actually making things much worse.
"One woman's experience was: When being assessed by social services to understand if I could keep my child, I was assessed jointly with my partner who was abusive. When alone with the worker, I confided my risk to her, and she challenged him on this while I was in the room during her next visit. Who do I trust in that scenario? For me it became better the devil I knew. Sadly, for my daughter, that was the wrong choice, and she was placed in the care of [my] paternal gran under an SGO.
"Another woman said, 'I was honest about my mental health and rather than given support, I was condemned for it and my children were placed with their father. My perpetrator has blocked me having contact with them since. No recourse to legal aid means my children have no access to a loving and capable mother. Today, with no contact from my abuser, I have no mental health concerns, but I still don’t have my children.'
We're sick of feeling like just a number in the system and like we don't matter. Child removal due to domestic violence, addiction, homelessness, poverty, or mental health is a disgrace. These are treatable conditions. Every one of them."