When entering the world of police, solicitors and the court system its important to know what your rights are. It is also important to know that your children have rights too, and this is something UNICEF are only too aware, that is ignored. The Council of Europe Convention clearly states that you are entitled to feel safe, protected and that the agencies that are in place to do that, are obligated to carry out this duty. When afraid of an obsessive, abusive individual, it is hard to remember everything clearly as psychological abuse causes fragmented memory recall. Piecing all the dates and events together to make sense is not something you will be able to do unless well removed from the fear and person doing this. When you have to report this to another person in uniform or a legal professional, it creates further distress as there is automatic inequality, and thinking no one will believe you, can impact your delivery. When I look back at my first PSNI statement, that I wrote myself, I’m so dismayed at how I over explained myself and didn’t focus on the facts and chronological order that was needed. I now know my personal story only too well, and four years later I am still piecing things together. This is why knowing your rights is so important. If you can’t recall all the details at least you can identify how you feel and this is what is recognised by the Conventions. They know what you are experiencing and they will confirm to you it is wrong.
You have rights, and the agencies in place are answerable, and like everything in life when organised and managed by humans, agencies do make mistakes.
The Un Convention Rights of the Child
The Convention on Preventing & Combating Violence against Women
The PSNI advice leaflet on Stalking and Harassment
And for anyone going through stalking or living in fear of another…. you will get through this. I did.