Toby talks about going into a refuge.
“I didn’t know that my dad was hitting my mum, I only really found out what had been going on once we got into a refuge. All I knew was that they were arguing all the time and that he would be really nasty to her.
One night I was in bed when I heard the arguing start again, the usual crying and shouting and then I heard my mum screaming. I came downstairs, really scared but I knew I couldn’t leave my mum to face it on her own. He had her by the throat in the hallway and her face was bleeding where he had been hitting her. When he saw me he told me to go away but I stayed even though I thought he would hit me too.
He swore at me, then spat at my mum and went out, slamming the door. My mum said she had enough, and told me that it wasn’t the first time he had hit her but it was getting worse and that she was calling the police. She went to ring them but kept putting the phone down and crying. In the end, she couldn’t go through with it, but rang the National Domestic Violence Helpline.
They told her that we could go into a refuge and get away from dad. It was really hard at first as we left our house and I had to change schools, as the refuge is in a different town to our house. Our dog is being looked after by my Nan until we have our own flat. I miss my dog, friends and playing on my computer, but it is worth it to be safe.”