20th May 2020 at 6:26 am #103860QuietgirraffeParticipant
For the ladies who left quickly with only the essentials- how did you go about recovering all your belongings from the home you used to share?
He refuses to let me go in without him there, and has said he won’t let anyone into the flat but me – I want to have friends there to help me and keep me safe. I think he has changed the locks as well so I won’t be able to just go in if he doesn’t let me in. I’m also afraid he may accuse me of stealing his things. I’m certainly considering getting the police involved but I feel bad about doing so… I feel like things weren’t really bad enough to warrant police involvement, (although he has found every possible avenue to try to contact me at all hours since I left). Maybe I am just minimizing things because I’m afraid to admit how bad things really were, or because I’m still wound up in the perceptions he put in my head. Not sure.
COVID-19 obviously adds another layer of difficulty to accomplishing this, but aside from that, I’d love to hear what worked for others.
20th May 2020 at 7:10 am #103866KIP.Participant
My advice is to get the police involved. They may say it’s a civil matter but if your make a statement about the harrassment and abuse and tell them you fear for your safety when retrieving your belongings they’re more likely to help.
20th May 2020 at 10:20 am #103875FudgecakeParticipant
I didn’t get them back.
20th May 2020 at 11:34 am #103882Wants To HelpParticipant
If the home is in joint names then he can’t change the locks and keep you out without a court order. If there are no legal orders in place at all to ban you from the property then you have a right to enter. You can contact a locksmith with proof of your residence and ask them to gain entry for you. If the mortgage or tenancy is in his name only, then he can change the locks.
You can contact the Police and ask if you can make an appointment for them to attend the property with you to prevent a Breach of the Peace whilst you collect your items.
They will usually allow an hour for this and will be present and ready to take action should any offences occur. The result of this is that the Police will not attend without wanting to know the details why, and if you tell them it is ‘domestic’ related they will want to record details of the incident that has led to this request, conduct a Risk Assessment (which means asking you at least 27 questions to assess whether you are at Standard, Medium or High Risk of harm/death) and then may arrest your ex for any offences you disclose even if it’s not what you want. So you may have to weigh up the pros and cons of this decision.
If your ex has committed offences of assault on you, or prolonged Controlling and Coercive Behaviour, he can be arrested for this and the Police can look at the Safeguarding options. As they are law enforcement, they will primarily look to prosecute for these offences and look for the evidence for a charging decision. If the threshold for this is met then he will be charged and bailed with conditions to keep away from you and your address and go to court. If the evidence does not meet the threshold for a charge and he is likely to be released with No Further Action taken, then the Police can look at a Domestic Violence Protection Notice that will order him to stay away from you and your address for 72 hours. Within that 72 hours the Police will then go to court and ask for this to be extended in to a Domestic Violence Protection Order that lasts for 28 days, the same conditions to stay away from you, your address, children etc will apply. He will have the right to attend the court to oppose the DVPO and may win.
So, sometimes, involving the Police opens up a whole process that a lady is unaware of and then this leads to actions being taken that she doesn’t want. The Police take what action they deem is necessary to offer protection and are Evidence Led instead of Victim Led in domestic abuse cases. Some people agree with this, some don’t. The reason for this is so that the abuser cannot blame the victim for him ending up in court with a conviction and possible prison sentence, he can blame the Police. However, the abuser will still blame the victim for calling the Police in the first place, regardless of what comes next, so many ladies are really uncomfortable with involving the Police.
Police will issue a DVPN/DVPO if they have the criteria, even if it’s not what you want. Many victims are horrified at this and feel that they have gone from being controlled by the abuser to being controlled by the authorities. They are still having decisions made for them and have no say in what goes on in their life.
The intentions behind this are not to control you. A DVPO is a temporary eviction notice and the aim of it is to evict the abuser from your address and life for 28 days to give you some breathing space, some time to rest, get some sleep, live abuse free, make decisions, gain advice and information, seek professional support, find somewhere else to live if you do want to move, obtain Occupation Orders and Non Mol Orders if you want to stay. It is to give you the time to do this without the abuser breathing down your neck, monitoring your every move and continuing to abuse you. So if the Police issue a DVPO it is to help you.
I hope this has helped you to consider what options are available to you so you can choose what is right for you.
In my personal circumstances I did not involve the Police as I knew in the long run it would make my life worse. I left everything behind and started again.
22nd May 2020 at 1:44 am #104039JustholdingonParticipant
My ex waited until he had stored my things in such a fashion that they were destroyed before demanding I send a van to collect them.
22nd May 2020 at 10:09 pm #104098QuietgirraffeParticipant
Thank you all for sharing your own stories and thoughts, it is heartbreaking to hear that several of you were not able to get back the things that were precious to you. I am afraid that i will also end up in the boat of everything being destroyed before I can get it back. I still don’t know what I am going to do, but this gives me a lot to consider ❤
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