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“I was helped to get my daughter back and to return to my own home.”

Aged 22, Gemma had been with her boyfriend for three years. He was verbally abusive, controlling and aggressive. He quickly isolated her from her family and friends, forced her to have an abortion and even contacted her landlord and cancelled her tenancy without her knowing. He also took her money; taking her to the bank when her benefits had been deposited in her account and demanding the she withdraw all her cash for him. Gemma found out that he had a history of violence against his ex-partners and had been criminally charged with rape.

Gemma fell pregnant again and gave birth to a baby girl. But her relationship with her boyfriend got worse. He made several threats to kill her, and one day, took her eight-month-old daughter and would not let her see her.

Desperate for help, Gemma contacted multiple solicitors but as she did not qualify for legal aid, she was unable to receive any support and she was not able to afford the initial consultation fee.

She then contacted Safe Steps. We found that her main concern was for her daughter, but her boyfriend also had the keys to her flat and she was too scared to return. The very next day, we helped her to obtain a Specific Issue Order, a Prohibitive Steps Order and a Non-Molestation Order. That afternoon, accompanied by a Police Officer and using the Court Order, one of our IDVAs was able to collect Gemma’s daughter from her boyfriend and returned her to Gemma’s care. Gemma then moved in with her grandparents while the Sanctuary Scheme changed the locks on her home, so that her boyfriend was no longer able to have access. Finally, with the three court orders, Gemma qualified for legal aid, so was able to receive assistance from a solicitor. This gives Gemma the legal representation she needs in order to safeguard herself and her daughter against further abusive incidents.

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