Lived Experience

Case studies

I Real People I Real Stories I Their Words I

Click here to read about why we are featuring these real human stories

Nick's story (dad)

Nick is a dad in his 60's in VIC.

“[We] married in 2005. I already had several properties and a business. She had one house.

[In] 2009, she moved with the children, without telling me. At first, I had regular contact. There were no allegations of abuse. I was unexpectedly issued a DV intervention order. I immediately applied to the Family Court, but before our first appearance, she withdrew the order. She asked we reconcile. I agreed.

One month later we separated. Then, she made another false allegation. The allegations over the years became increasingly sick. Not one has been investigated, substantiated or proved. On one occasion, it was alleged I was driving by her home. It did not happen. I was issued another [restraining] order.

I was put through the stress of dealing with [the] Child Support [Agency who] assumed I earned $200,000 because that’s what my ex told them. It was the GFC. I was broke, on the dole. I have applied for legal aid three times. All denied.

I [just] wanted an equal share of [equity], which was my super fund. The applications were ignored. Our properties were repossessed or given to my ex wife. After a lifetime of working I have nothing. I rent a room. For a time I [lived] in my car. My super [was given] to my ex wife. I will now be on a Centrelink Pension. I received nothing from the settlement.

I haven’t seen my children for ten years. For my children, I fear there will be long-term psychological issues. The family law system is broken. I can’t see how what I’ve experienced [is] anything other than abuse.”

Read Nick's story

Paul's story (dad)

Paul is a dad in his 40's living in NSW

"My wife left me in 2017. We’d been together ten years and had two children. I had a bad car accident and ended up with a broken back and neck. She was my power of attorney. She used that to clear out my bank. She also withdrew money on my home loan, ran a GoFundMe to cover my medical bills. It was a scam. I was in a public hospital. I only found out and pieced it all together when a lady contacted me on Facebook.

My wife earns around $250,000 and [her new partner] earns $500,000. It's all about money. She used my brain injury to get a temporary DV intervention order placed on me. She’s using near unlimited income to keep dragging me through the courts and make me suffer. My solicitor said I could fight the DV order, but his advice was to accept it and save the money.

They’ve dragged me through court for two years so far. She keeps stopping me from seeing my children. My solicitor has said this cannot continue. But it does. I didn’t see this side of my wife when we were married. I don’t want to see other people go through this."

Read Paul's story

Holly's Story (new partner)

Holly is in her 30's and lives in WA. She is new partner to a dad struggling with his ex-wife.

“He moved out and supported her, paying $2500 p/m plus rent, bills and school fees. She claimed Centrelink benefits as she didn’t declare the child support. He slept on the floor with just a pillow. He agreed to support her until she could find work. After 2 years she has still not looked for work. They had a parenting plan so he saw the children. It emerged that the biological father of my partners step daughter had left because she made false allegations against him. He too had been paying child support. She was furious when this came out. My partner has since seen his own child only a few times under supervision. The property was split. His ex wife took all the assets, my partner all the debt. He wanted a clean slate. His ex-wife still refuses to make a settlement. We’ve now spent $100,000 fighting this.

Then a VRO was served on my partner an hour before contact with the children. I also received a VRO with allegations of violence against his ex-wife. We’d never met! Contact with the children ceased. My partner is a medical professional and cannot have a VRO. I work in the legal profession; it had an enormous effect on me. She's refused to drop the false allegations. In the meantime, she was stalking him, calling him. I used all of my life savings to defend myself against the VRO. In the end I accepted it as I’d run out of money. This ruined me. I broke down. I’m depressed, my confidence gone. I don’t leave the house. I’m afraid of false allegations. My partner is broken. Many times I’ve had to pick him off the floor. There is no support. It’s too easy for DV protection orders to be issued with no consequence for perjury. It’s disgraceful that malicious allegations can be made so easily with NO proof. I think an ex-partner should be made to pay costs once allegations are proven false."

Read Holly's story

Jane's Story (sister/aunt)

Jane is a sister/aunt in her 40's in QLD.

“My brother was woken to being smashed in the face with a breadboard. It was his partner. Two weeks later, the police charged him with assault. He had to go to court. She drove him. When there, she went into a separate room saying she was scared for her life. He moved out. His ex started getting increasingly nasty. His daughter, once arrived saying, “Daddy’s a ****, Daddy’s a ****” I work with vulnerable people. DV and child protection is a large part of my role. The DV protection order was 12 months. That nearly expired when she had made fresh allegations. She wanted to extend the order 2 yrs. Later, my brother had a call from child protection. His ex accused him of throwing their daughter against the wall. He broke down. It was so awful. He adores his daughter. They investigated. The case was closed. He hadn’t done anything. She sends him abusive emails. She’s trying to wind him up. She knows him emotionally. She’s trying to play the system. She knows to pretend she’s scared for her life. He tried to take his life last weekend. Her game is to wear him down. I know there are people who have experienced DV, I work with them. But not this. This is manipulating the system because she knows it’s biased. His ex has told everyone at the school that he’s an abuser. It’s about having a child for monetary gain and playing games of power and control to destroy my brother.”

Read Jane's story

Phil's Story (dad)

Phil is a dad in his 40's living in VIC.

"She was drinking heavily and started to be violent frequently. She would punch me in the head. She tried to stab me. I’ve never been violent. She was an outpatient at a drug and alcohol centre. They wanted her to go in. She didn’t turn up. She left my youngest, under a year old, locked in her car. One of her friends informed child protection services. I quit my job to look after the kids. She went in for treatment. At this stage she was a full-blown addict and had major drug psychosis. She’d been pulling wiring out of the walls. She was diagnosed with BPD. One day police turned up. One of the friends she’d been lying to had shown police text messages. It was later shown I hadn’t sent them. A temporary order was taken out against me. She broke down in tears and said she didn’t know what was going on. I drove home to find police with dogs. I was charged with multiple counts of rape, assault, torture and strangulation. I was put in prison. I was there for a month, before being granted bail. I was on bail for two years with conditions, one being I couldn’t have contact with my kids. Three years later, I still haven’t seen my children. I’ve spent $300,000 fighting false allegations. I have no money left. It was extremely hard in the beginning, I cried a lot. I was acquitted after a week long trial. She made a further allegation. She said I’d cut and held her captive. Records proved I was in a different State. The case was dismissed. She faced no consequences. I’ve lost everything. I still haven’t seen my kids.

Read Phil's story

Lauren's Story (paternal grandma)

Lauren is a grandmother in her late 70's living in QLD.

"She was abusive and violent. It’s been hell. My son decided to leave with my grandson. She arrived with 3 guys. They took the child. My son will [now] be homeless on Christmas Day. I’ve got no money left. I’ve spent my inheritance plus $340,000. I’ve spent it on food for them, clothes, petrol, cars, things for the child, safety seats for my grandson, electricity bills, their rent, submissions to family court, medicine, doctor, psychologist and psychiatrist bills. I wouldn’t regret that but he still doesn’t have access to his son. I haven’t seen my grandson. His access to his child is entirely at her whim. Sometimes she’ll yell for 30 mins then he can take him. My son treads on eggshells. She’s admitted she’s [got] Borderline Personality Disorder. She rings and abuses me. I pick up the phone and hear screeching. Then she hangs up. She says I’ll be lucky to see my grandson again. I’m in my late 70's. I won’t be alive when my only grandson turns 16. I’m overwhelmed. I’ve lost 10kgs. There’s no penalty for her. It breaks my heart that my dear, precious grandson will grow up without love and warmth in his life. It’s killing me.”

Read Lauren's story

Jason's Story (dad)

Jason is a dad in his 40's living in SA.

"There were no big bust ups, no violence. I’d sent three emails in one year. A legal letter said, “our client is intimidated by the amount of messages”. That’s when it started… A temporary protection order was put in place. After the order, the next step is jail. Can you even imagine how that feels when you’ve done nothing wrong? It was then she accused me of sexual and physical abuse of our son. Her lies started to unravel. I was asked on the stand how I felt. I couldn’t speak. I’d waiting for six years… but I couldn’t speak. I was sobbing. Both legal teams wanted the child removed from his mother. She withdrew all allegations. I said I wanted 50/50."

Read Jason's story

Scott's Story (dad)

Scott is a dad in his 50's living in ACT.

"The police turned up. An allegation of family violence had been made. I had to go to the police station. I was bundled into a paddy wagon in front of my neighbours. I’d gone from earning a big salary to nothing overnight. That wasn’t acceptable to her. Her allegations became increasingly ridiculous. She would say I’d been stalking her when I was in a different state. I was alienated from my children. I had to pay for supervised visits with my own children. Sexual Crimes Detectives arrived at school to investigate. I hit rock bottom. I tried to take my own life. It’s still very raw, hard to talk about. My life was ruined."

Read Scott's story

Adam's Story (dad)

Adam is a dad in his 40's living in TAS.

"A post on Facebook said, “Jane is saying she’s going to kill her (our) children, then herself". Terrified, I called the police. They called back to say they’d found them but wouldn’t tell me where they were and that I could be an abuser. A week later I called back; I was concerned about my son’s welfare. I was told, “If you ring again, we’ll charge you with harassing the police”. She’s being represented by a women’s legal service; they’ve provided her with full funding for property settlement despite her income of nearly $100k and having kept everything. This isn’t about money. She wants to destroy me."

Read Adam's story

Alison's Story (daughter)

Alison is a daughter in her 40's living in NSW.

“One afternoon I came home from school to find mum in bed. She’d been drinking and had burnt her wrist. She said that’s how much pain dad and I had cause her. Mum would isolate and stonewall. There were days when they didn’t speak at all - and she wouldn’t even talk to me. If I’d had a choice, I would have rather lived with my father. I was daddy’s little girl; I’ve never been close to my mother. We haven’t spoken in several years. I was made to feel guilt and shame for loving my father. There was a period when I didn’t see him. On Monday the divorce was finalised. Dad was served with the papers. I lost my father to suicide when I was 14. It’s over 30 years since I lost him and I miss him terribly.”

Read Alison's story

Alan's Story (dad)

Alan is a dad in his 40's living in QLD.

“She was bipolar and had Borderline Personality Disorder. She was very erratic. I was a doting dad after our first child was born. I went back to school and got a diploma but she was doing drugs while I was at work. She started punching herself and gave herself a bruise on the right side of her chin. One of her older children told a teacher at their school what was going on at home. Child services came round to the house while I was at work. She told them I’d hit her and the bruise was from me. They took her and the children to a supposed “safe house”; it was where one of her drug dealer friends lived. I had an intervention order placed on me. I didn’t see my kids for months. I was suicidal. I called the police, explained the situation and asked him to help me get out safely with the kids. He told me to stop wasting his time. That same police officer arrested me in 2011 after I’d been attacked by her. ”

Read Alan's story

John's Story (dad)

John is a dad in his 50's living in NSW.

“She worked her way up in her career to the top of her game very fast. The more she was promoted, the more different she became. Our evening discussions centred on how to beat men at work, which she did easily. We had three children, now 21, 19 and 14. She went back to work within three months of the first two. After the third we decided I’d become a stay at home dad. I lost my identity. As she battled with her own anxiety it came out she’d had an affair with a partner at work. I tried to support her saying, “let’s sort out your anxiety and fix the rest later.” However, when I did the maths I worked out she’d had the affair while we were trying to conceive our third child. I sank to my knees. The children were in bed; I started sobbing on the kitchen floor. That was the last time I made an effort to maintain my marriage. When we separated she went for the jugular and alienated my children from me. We went to child focus mediation and agreed on a deal to take it in turns looking after our children, week about. We’d just signed the agreement when she pulled out some other papers. “I know you’re sick, this is so you don’t have to worry about the mortgages,” she said. The next day I went to the ATM, my card was declined. The papers I signed had blocked me from all our joint accounts. I had no money.

Read John's story