I made the decision to always reply with love

In the deepest, trying time of my life where I once had a home with love, laughter and joy, a dark and painful shadow entered our life.

On the 20th of December 2010 I received a call from my daughter’s school asking me to attend a meeting. At this time my daughter was displaying difficult behaviour in the home and I just couldn’t figure out what was going on for her. At the school meeting I found out that my daughter had been a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE.)

My whole world turned upside down- where once our home was filed with colours RED, GOLD and GREEN it was now taken over by this dark entity. I don’t know how I got home that day; it was like an out of body experience. All I could remember was calling the police and children’s service and being shocked that none of them were taking me seriously. I demanded that they came to my house immediately.

We were given a family worker that couldn’t help us then we had a social worker that wasn’t any help. All they seemed to be doing was finding out my family history, going over and over it. That wasn’t what I needed. I needed someone who had experience in dealing with this. I felt like doors were shutting in my face. I didn’t know what to do. All I knew was my child was in danger. At first I started to drink a lot. Turning to the drink as a pain killer, I know people may judge me, but I was blaming myself, asking what I’d done wrong and it just numbed this out for a while. This didn’t last long because I knew I had to take control of what was happening to our family.

I had to become a lioness and fight for my child’s wellbeing.

I guess from the beginning I was begging the police and child’s services to put my child up in a safe and secure unit away from the offenders, but I was getting nowhere My child was now missing for days and the more she was away the more aggressive and confused she became. I could see that the abuse was getting worse and I didn’t feel as if I was getting any support. I then had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. I told children’s services to take my daughter because the situation was out of control and I could no longer keep her safe. I had to stop putting the blame on myself, because I had to be in a place where I could fight for the rights and wellbeing of my daughter. It wasn’t easy doing any of this. My daughter was upset and angry with me. She tried to push me away, hurt and reject me and I made this decision to always reply with love.

I kept saying, ‘I love you. I want the best for you and I know you love me.’ I did this because it was helping me to cope and to continue to fight.

In the end my daughter was placed into a really good placement that worked with children who had been sexually exploited. The staff at the placement worked with me and listened- this was so important that they understood what was happening.

My beautiful daughter has been back home with me for 5 years. She is now a beauty therapist and is doing well. The odd times we talk about her past she refers to it as her journey. She is rebuilding her life.