A man with clenched fist standing over a girlIn May 2010 my two children were having a dispute, which is a normal occurrence between siblings, my husband was asleep upstairs before going out to work night shift, my daughter who was 13 at the time ran upstairs to her room shouting as she went, all I heard was a scream  and him shouting. I ran upstairs and she was on the bed and he was hitting her across the legs, I immediately put a stop to it and threatened him with phoning the police.

We were all shocked at his behaviour and my daughter said he had taken hold of her by the neck and threw her on the bed before hitting her. I waited until he went to work and we all sat and cried. I then went to my bag and took the housing form from it and filled it out, stating I had to move because of domestic abuse.

It was the hardest thing  I’ve ever had to do admitting it. I posted it the next morning without telling him, he did make apologies to the children and said he would change, but we all took it with a pinch of salt as he’d said it before many times.

I received a letter back from the housing association asking for my birth certificate to be posted back so I placed it in an envelope and placed it in my bag ready to post the next day. After the incident with my daughter I decided to write some notes in a diary when anything bad happened, I kept this in my baby’s changing bag as he never ever went in there as he’s never changed nappies.

One day he came home in a terrible mood and blanked me he, wouldn’t even say why, he then began drinking heavily and said what was on his mind, he had found the diary and the letter to the housing association, he had opened the letter and read that I was applying for housing, he went absolutely mad and would not give me the diary back.

He said his temper was all my fault and that I brought out the badness in him , he then barricaded himself in the living room placing chairs against the doors and would not come out. We were terrified and we all went upstairs together and slept in my bed, my eldest daughter wanted to phone the police but I stopped her, afraid of his reaction.

After this he was all apologetic and seemed to be nice as ninepence, but I knew it was just a facade so I just kept things ticking over as best as I could for my children. I rang the housing and let them know what had happened and they arranged for me to visit their office with my birth certificate under complete confidence.

In weeks to come, he started acting strangely when at home and he was working more and more hours, sometimes he would go out and just disappear for hours and then lie where he’d been. I knew when he was lying as I could always tell.

He started hiding his mobile phone and would not let it out of his sight, he would sit on the toilet for ages and I knew something was up, so I said to my daughter,  I need to get hold of that phone as I thought he was seeing someone else.

One night he fell asleep after drinking a lot of alcohol and his phone fell out of his pocket, I seized my moment and ran upstairs with my daughter to have a look through, I didn’t feel bad about doing it as this was my chance to escape if I found what I was looking for. I read various texts between him and a woman, sexual messages and they were arranging to go on a short break together.

The last message he’d sent to her was when he’d sat on the toilet for half an hour this very night. We were ecstatic at finding this and now began to plan how I would break it to him that I knew and that I wanted him to leave straight away.