Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 12:04 UK

'I could have killed my partner'

Three perpretators of domestic abuse speak to the BBC's Samantha Poling
Three perpretators of domestic abuse speak to the BBC's Samantha Poling

Jim, a slight man in his 50s, abused his partner for many years.

He has three convictions for domestic assault and said alcohol played a part in the abuse.

"Every one of my sentences has been related to drink, and to be honest, there probably should have been more sentences," he said.

"I got away with it, I wasn't reported at times.

"I would verbally attack my partner, but a couple of times, physically attack her as well.

"Afterwards I was genuinely sorry, but next time, it would happen again."


It's taken a long time for my partner to actually put her arms round me again

Robert

Jim is one of three men convicted of domestic abuse who spoke to the BBC about their experiences.

The three - known only as Jim, Stephen and Robert - were all attending the Change Programme, run by Glasgow City Council, as part of their sentences.

The programme involves the men going back over the incident for which they were arrested.

"As time went on, this course has opened my eyes to what kind of person I was and how selfish," Jim said.

"I was ashamed of myself."

Robert, a 42-year-old father-of-two, remembers the day he was arrested.

He said: "It was embarrassing, scary.

"I was sitting in the cell and I couldn't remember. I knew I'd been arguing with her.

"I had to ask my partner what had happened that weekend and the things she told me were really scary. I could have killed her."

'Trust back'

Robert said although he knew no physical violence when he was growing up, he thought emotional abuse was normal in a relationship.

"I thought it was just the way it was," he said.

"When I came onto the programme, I thought, 'I've got to attend this. I'll go through the motions'.

"But as the weeks went by I realised I was like that."

Robert said it was difficult opening up to other men, but eventually he managed to do so.

He said: "Once we realised that we were being abusive, then the next step is to try and avoid being abusive and help ourselves to walk away from the situation and that's what they taught us.

"They taught us well I think."

Robert, who was with his partner for 20 years, has made some in-roads into repairing the relationship, but he said it was very difficult.

I thought it was going to be a load of guys having group hugs and stuff like that, but it's not like that
Stephen

He now lives away from the family home and sees his partner at weekends.

He said: "It's taken a long time for my partner to actually put her arms round me again.

"It's taken a long time to get that trust back.

"But if it hadn't been for the Change Programme I may have done some serious damage to my partner, maybe broke limbs, maybe killed her, I don't know."

Stephen is the youngest of the group. The 22-year-old assaulted his ex-girlfriend two years ago.

The offence he was convicted for was physical assault but he says it is the verbal bullying which haunts him.

"I used to shout at her, swear at her, call her names, bring her down," he said.

"I didn't think there was anything wrong with it.

"We were having an argument and I called her quite a nasty name. I just thought that's what happened in arguments, that it didn't matter.

"Now I can't believe I said that."

'Seek help'

Stephen admitted that when he heard the terms of his probation included a spell at the Change Programme, he was sceptical.

"I thought it was going to be a load of guys having group hugs and stuff like that, but it's not like that," he said.

"Everything we've learned on the programme about different kinds of domestic abuse - I've done it all."

But now Stephen says he would have a specific message to men who are abusing their partners.

"If you are any kind of man, you would go and seek help about it and put a stop to it," he said.

"Because really it's actually no way to treat anybody, it's not the right way to live."


Hitting Home will be broadcast on BBC One Scotland at 2235 BST on Tuesday 11 May



Print Sponsor



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific