Diane praises probation for saving her life

Diane* was left feeling suicidal after an abusive ex-partner raped her, but her probation case manager has helped her see a new future free from crime.

The 39-year-old, from Widnes, was supervised on a 12-month Suspended Sentence Order by the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company (CGM CRC). She successfully completed her order, which was supervised by probation case manager Gemma Bailey, on 3/07/20.

Diane, who worked in accountancy, was arrested after committing fraud against her employer. She stole more than £10,000 in 2015.

During Diane’s period under supervision she was raped and also had to adjust to life under lockdown as the impact of COVID-19 unfolded. Diane was raised in care and has had a string of abusive relationships.

Diane said: “I hated men. I felt I was being bullied at work by my boss and I committed the fraud as my way of retaliating. I was an idiot, but it made sense to me at the time.

“My whole approach to probation has been that these are professional people who are here to help. I was therefore completely open from day one. I’d strongly urge other people to do the same because it has helped me so much.

“I felt suicidal after being raped. Gemma was there for me when others were not. She is an amazing person and deserves all the credit for the fact that I now have a new outlook on life.”

Diane believes her mental health suffered after a string of bad relationships and she turned to cocaine and cannabis to help her cope. She had not been in trouble with the law since 2009, and that was for a minor offence.

She said: “Going back to court was a massive shock to the system. But I went into probation with an open mind and it has been brilliant for me.

“Gemma clearly genuinely cares. She hasn’t judged me. She has called me in her own time to check I’m okay, she made me feel valued and has helped me regain my confidence.”

Gemma took Diane to Changing Lives, a charity that supports vulnerable people, and delivered supervision via telephone in order to continue supporting her during the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

Gemma said: “It is to Diane’s immense credit that there is now a huge difference between how she thought and acted when she first began her order to how she now behaves.

“Her excellent progress has been possible because of her openness. By telling us how she felt and discussing the problems she has faced, not in the least the horrific rape ordeal that she suffered, we have been able to support Diane to make positive changes to her life.

“Once our women’s centre re-opens Diane knows the door is always open for her so that she can still come to visit and get support if needed.”

Diane’s ambition is to become a counsellor and she hopes to resume a college course in September.

*Diane’s real identity has not been revealed because she is the victim of a sex attack and therefore has the right to anonymity.