Probation helps Jenny quit abusive relationships

Jenny* was arrested after a police raid at her house unearthed a large cannabis stash, and she lost care of her children, her job and home after she pleaded guilty for being involved in the supply of drugs.

The mum-of-two was sentenced to a two-year Suspended Sentence Order supervised by senior case manager Rebecca Bowler, from the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company.

Jenny was sentenced for been involved in the supply of cannabis after police accepted the drugs belonged to her partner.

Probation has helped Jenny put her life back together and to see a future after she initially struggled to cope with the fallout from the offence.

The 22-year-old said: “I made a really bad choice because I’d been in an abusive relationship and after I’d left him, I wanted to feel secure. I rushed into a relationship and fell in love with a man who I thought could protect me.

“When the police raid happened, my whole life collapsed. I wasn’t completely innocent, I knew things were wrong, but I never took drugs and didn’t know the extent of what he was doing.

“It meant I lost care of my children, I was made homeless and ended in a bed and breakfast. My story was splashed all over the news and social media and it’s made it almost impossible for me to get a job. It’s been a horrific time.”

Jenny is now 18 months through her order, has completed a domestic violence course called Freedom and successfully completes her sentence in April.

She said: “My probation officer is amazing, and she has been a massive support throughout. I was struggling to cope when I first met Rebecca. I needed help with my mental health, and I know when I’m feeling down that I can call her.

“Rebecca has given me financial advice. She’s given me emotional support and has helped with social services and advised me on the steps I need to take to show I can safely care for my children.

“Social services never questioned my ability to be a good mum, but they are concerned about my choice in partners. Doing the domestic violence course has helped because now I feel better able to recognise the early signs of an abusive relationship and that’s a crucial thing for me.”

One of Jenny’s earlier partners stalked her and was jailed in relation to offences he committed against her.

Jenny said: “The course showed me about the impact of domestic violence on children. That was a real eye-opener for me. They always come first, but I can see how my choices were negatively impacting on them even when I didn’t think so at the time.

“I know I won’t get back into trouble again, especially now the course and probation have helped me see how my relationships have linked to the problems I’ve experienced.”

Rebecca said: “I’m delighted by the significant progress Jenny has made. She was still with her partner when we first met. She had to come to her own realisation that his impact on her life was entirely negative, but she did that and taking the step to distance herself from him showed real maturity.

“She lost everything because of what she did and recovering from that is tough. She has shown tremendous determination to get her own tenancy, to impress social services with her progress and to develop her awareness about what a healthy relationship looks like.

“Jenny is dedicated to her children and she has fought hard to be allowed unsupervised contact with them and it’s much to her credit that she’s achieved that goal.”

* Jenny is not the service user’s real name.