What I remember from being with him is that I was frightened and anxious all the time. Sometimes I was even physically sick at the thought of him coming home. He could (and would) control what I said, what I did, where I went sometimes, and then when the baby came the tactics changed, they became more subtle and harder for me to work out what was going on. I had to hide everything – from injuries to issues with bills and money – from my friends and family and he would constantly tell me that I chose the baby over him but also that I was a ‘bad mother’.

He accused me of cheating, would kick off, accuse me of giving him STI’s, and eventually it was easier to just give in. Give in to everything. Because he would cause fights constantly and in the end, he always got what he wanted. He came first. He came first, while I tried to put my child first, and I came last.

Being in a relationship that I was scared to leave because of the abuse was the worst time of my life. Leaving was the right thing to do though – I left and I don’t have to deal with him on a daily basis any more. I can put my child, and myself first now. We have a totally different life to what we would have had if I was still with him.

Chaandra, 35, Knowsley