My Story so far. A warning to DV victims.

I was living an exiting and dynamic life in England full of friends and wonderful things. Regularly playing live music and was at the start of a career working in films as a sound artist.

One day i met a French lady who i fell in love with. We moved to Scotland where she did some teacher training and i took a masters in computer science. After the year in Scotland had passed she invited me to come with her to France, just for a year so i gladly accepted.

It soon became apparent that she was rather strange. She was staggeringly selfish and seemed to tell lies about everything. When I met her friends she introduced me, in French, and they would give me a strange look and ignore me for the rest of the night. I assumed it was because of the language barrier as i could not speak a word of French. It took 2 years to learn enough French to realize that i was being introduced as someone who hates France and all French people. I had however met some people who spoke English and got on fine with them.

The first year was spent in a city. After a year she fell pregnant with our first daughter. She was insistent on moving out of the city to raise the child. We talked about going back to England as i was having no luck finding work in France since i could not speak the language. Instead she decided to buy a house in a tiny french village. Our daughter was born and as we were so isolated i took on the full time role of bringing up our daughter while she worked as a teacher.

When our daughter was 2 years old we were at a friends wedding. She slapped our daughter across the face because she was tired and crying. I was completely shocked by this but made excuses for her as she had been drinking heavily. This was the start of an ever escalating tirade of abuse towards me and our daughter.

I became ever more isolated, in this village in the middle of nowhere, and occupied my time with our daughter. Taking her to school and looking after her every day needs. She became ever more absent from the family home, going to visit friends and making every excuse to be away from the house. She became ever more unpleasant to be around, a very short temper with increasing measures of violence.

A few years later we had our second daughter. She decided we would move to a city when she was born to be closer to her place of work. By this time she had become extremely violent and verbally abusive towards me and had also started habitually slapping our eldest child. She made every effort to cut contact between me and my family and friends in England.

So now i was isolated in France with nobody to talk to other than my children so i devoted my life to them. I tried many times to understand why she wanted nothing to do with us and tried to rekindle our relationship but she was having none of it. I had become her slave, taking care of the kids and the home while she continued to act like she was single, going out to all night parties on her own for example. I stayed with her mainly for the children, to keep the family together but also to protect them from her ever more frequent violence.

When our youngest was 2 years old, both kids were playing upstairs before bed and we were downstairs. All of a sudden, for no apparent reason she got up and stormed upstairs shouting and swearing. I followed her up knowing i would have to calm the situation. before i got to the bottom of the stairs i heard a strange scream from the youngest that kind of faded towards the end. I can still hear it vividly even 2 years later and can feel tears welling up as i write. I ran upstairs to see her holding our daughter unconscious in her arms. I asked what happened and she snapped at me and took our daughter into her room. Me and our eldest followed her. The youngest came round, me and our eldest were very concerned and i asked again what happened and if we should take her to the doctor. She became more and more aggressive with us so i sat with our youngest for a while to make sure she was ok. The aggression soon turned on our eldest daughter so i quickly took her into her own room out of fear for her safety. I asked what had happened and she said that mummy had picked her sister up by the fingers really nastily. She was obviously traumatized by what had happened and could not describe what had happened other than mummy was violent with her sister. I put her in bed and read her a story then went into the youngest’s room and spent some time with her. Her mother by this time had gone back downstairs. The youngest fell asleep eventually and so I decided to sleep in the spare room next to hers, making regular checks throughout the night.

For the following week i was in bits, i knew she was capable of serious violence but didn’t know what to do. i didn’t know anybody, couldn’t speak the language and was completely alone. I knew she had gone too far and had to do something about it. During this week i could feel myself physically shaking when she was around. I couldn’t bring myself to even look at her. She kept encouraging me to hit her but I summoned all my strength to keep calm. Then 6 days after the shocking event out of desperation in the afternoon i sent an email to NSPCC and a text message to my mum asking what i should do. That evening she was behaving very oddly, overly attentive to the children, the worst play acting i had ever seen. I was in the kitchen making myself some toast when she walked in and picked up the biggest knife in the drawer. She looked at me with a demented look in her eyes, held the knife up to my face and whispered ‘this knife cuts good’, put the knife down and carried on like nothing had happened. I dont remember the rest of the evening, i was in complete shock. I knew I had to do something immediately.

The next day I took the kids to school in the morning as usual. I received a phone call from my sister, my mum had spoken to her about the text message and she was worried. I told her what had happened and asked what i should do. She said she would call me back and did so after a few minutes. She had called the police and a local solicitor and they had both advised to take the kids and leave immediately. As i had nobody in France to turn to and no money at all my dad sent some money for the train to go back to England with the kids. At lunch time i picked the kids up from school and got on the train.

I arrived at my parents house late at night. I knew their mum would be worried so i sent her a text saying the kids are safe and with me. The next morning there she was at my parents door. I called the police and they came, they wrote things down in their little book and suggested i talk to her in a public place and left. I met her at a fast food place near by and tried to talk to her hoping to be able to sort things out. All she could say was she is taking me to court. The next day i let her into my parents house so she could see the kids and tried to reason with her. I said if she gets help with her violence we would come back to France.

I didnt see or hear from her for the next few days so my sister took me to a solicitor to see what the next step would be. I filled for residency and prohibited steps on the advice of the solicitor. The mediators phoned and said they were trying in vain to contact her. I heard nothing from her for the next few weeks. I later found out she had found herself a new man within the first few days and has now had a baby with him. The court date came around and i was bricking it having never been to court before and afraid of seeing her again. I went into court on my own and she was not there. The judge made a temporary order to keep the kids with me and sent her an email ordering her to come to the next hearing.

A friend of hers got in touch and told me to be careful as she was planning to bring men to be violent with me and take the kids. Then one night there was banging at the door, 2 men in black suits were stood outside. After some hesitation my mum opened the door and they explained they were police men and had come to take our passports. after confirming with the police station who they were i handed over the passports. It was very puzzling as i had already got an order from the court restricting the children not only to stay in the country but the county. A few nights later another bang on the door, this time is was a man serving me with papers from the high court. She had accused me of abducting my own children. This is when the real nightmare began.

At the high court, after CAFCASS had interviewed our eldest daughter, the judge said custody is up to the french courts to decide. He placed heavy measures of protection for me and the kids and we had to go back to France. In France she broke ALL of the protection measures and made sure every day was as traumatic as can be for me and the children. We went to the French court and i asked to be able to return to England with the kids. I knew there was a possibility that i would have to stay in France but never in a million years did i expect what happened next. The french judge said that I had made everything up and manipulated my daughter to lie for me. She awarded custody to the mother and fined me for running away. Completely devastated and now homeless, penniless and childless I returned to my parents house in England. I applied for an emergency appeal in the French court. She destroyed everything i left at her house including thousands of pounds worth of stuff, irreplaceable items given to me by passed on family members and 9 years worth of photos and videos of the kids.

Fast forward 18 months, the appeal has just happened and i sit and wait for the decision next year sometime. There have been numerous violent incidents that the children have disclosed to me but try as i might i cannot even get the French social services to make a welfare check. The judge decided i made it all up and that’s that. The French police have been gaslit by her on the strength of the judges ill founded mistake and are after me for ‘abduction’ so i darent even go to visit my kids. I have almost no contact with them either by skype or phone and will be spending my first Christmas without my kids.

The moral of the story is, if you have children with a violent narcissist do not try to escape as you will lose everything. Its better to suffer in silence and be there for your kids. She has destroyed every aspect of my life and is now pushing hard to destroy it again.


Hague Convention on the Reclamation of Child Abuse Victims

The Hague Convention on Child Abduction was originally created to help stop child trafficking and serious issues of this nature.

In recent years however, it has become a tool for child abusers to reclaim their victims.

According to Reunite research almost every parent they interviewed had fled from a foreign country with their children to escape domestic violence. The perpetrators of the abuse use the Hague Convention to circumnavigate the rigorous investigation of the English court and use ‘jurisdiction’ and ‘habitual residence’ to their advantage and force the children and victim parent to their own country.

Once the victims are back in the perpetrators country, the perpetrator is are at a distinct advantage.

They are using their own language and (usually) an inferior, familiar and corruptible justice system to their advantage.

The victim parent will be unfamiliar with the legal system and language and will be at a disadvantage of being homeless and penniless after fleeing in panic from the family home.

The Hague Convention only has a very limited number of options to avoid being sent back to the other country. Either there is a risk of harm or the child objects.

Risk of Harm

If there is a real risk of harm to the children the proceedings must be in depth and every piece of evidence must heavily scrutinized, witnesses questioned and cross examined etc, just as in a real domestic violence case.

Unfortunately Hague proceedings do not allow for this. They are, in accordance with the convention, very short and quick. There is very little time to gather evidence or even to produce a half decent statement. there are no witnesses, no cross examination, no investigation and wholly rely on a hastily put together statement by an individual who has recently fled domestic violence and all the emotions and confusion that entails.

Hague Convention hearings a catastrophically inadequate to determine and risk of harm.

Child Objections

The child, if they are old enough, is interviewed by a CAFCASS officer to ascertain their views and wishes. A report is then made and supplied to the judge.

If, as in my case, the child objects for a whole host of reasons including risk of harm then the judge can refuse to send them back. Since Hague Convention hearings do not deal with custody issues. ‘jurisdiction’ and ‘habitual residence’ means the English court cannot make this kind of decision, the judge has no other option then to send the children back to the other country.

Child Objections are automatically overruled by jurisdiction issues, rendering this argument useless.

There MUST be a drastic and immediate change to the way Hague Convention hearings are carried out for the safety and protection of children.

There MUST be adequate measures to ensure that the Hague Convention is not being misused to reclaim victims of child abuse.

Abolish Article 11(4) to Protect Children from Violence

Brussels II Regulation Article 11 (4) is inherently flawed and ineffective and should be removed for the protection of children and domestic violence victims.

For those of you uninitiated it is an international article of law designed to protect children when they are returned to their country of origin when there is clear and convincing evidence of a grave risk of harm.

Practical guide here

Thing is, the very nature of the people involved in this type of case means it is prone to catastrophic, dangerous and potentially life threatening failure. A catalyst to injustice.

In our global community it is increasingly common for people from 2 different countries to have children together. When domestic violence is an issue, isolated in a foreign country, the ‘victim’ parent often flees to their own country with the children to the protection of their family.

The perpetrator of the violence can use an obscure and complex law to reclaim their child victims called the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. They essentially accuse the parent victim of abducting their own children.

Article 13b of Hague Convention says if there is clear and convincing evidence of a grave risk of harm if the children are sent back the court can refuse to send them. Makes sense so far doesn’t it. Child protected, parent protected, job done.

However, and this is where the entire structure of this law fails, BIIR Article 11(4) says a court CANNOT refuse to send the children back IF there are adequate measures of protection put in place. These measures are often in the form of undertakings. The parties agree to the court that they will or will not do something, such as not go within 100m of the victim and not to try and prosecute for the alleged abduction and things of that nature.

So, here he have a situation where the court is telling a known criminal, a domestic violence perpetrator, to promise the court something. In the same vain as opening a jail door and telling a prisoner to promise not to walk out. Put in this light it is blindingly obvious where and how Article 11.4 fails but the judges and law makers don’t see it (yet).

For Example (taken from a real life case) If the perpetrator promises not to go within 100m of the victim, of course they will in order to intimidate the victim and get a sense of power by saying a big ‘F.You’ to the court. If they promise not to prosecute for the alleged abduction of course they will. They will tell the court in their own country that the victim has been sent back because they ‘abducted’ the children. They will tell the court that Article 13b was dismissed and conceal any evidence or mention of BIIR Article 11.4 allowing them to break any other undertakings that may have been put in place to protect their victims. And the whole thing falls apart, child victims reclaimed, parent victim punished, criminal rewarded, justice fails.

Unless the law makers use their brain, common sense and case history beyond that of the original hearing, domestic violence perpetrators will continue to use the Hague Convention to reclaim their victims.

It is in the child’s best interest to remove Brussels II Regulation Article 11.4.

If there is a risk of harm if they are sent back simply do not send them back.

I rest my case