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Simon was just 23 years old when his life was taken by his partner, a woman who had physically and emotionally abused him for most of their 18 month relationship.
Simon’s mum, Jose, is now sharing her story to raise awareness of domestic abuse affecting men and to encourage family, friends and colleagues to be vigilant for the signs so that no one else has to lose their son as Jose so tragically has.
“Simon got into a relationship with this girl and it was really fast, one minute they were friends, the next minute they’d moved in together.
“She seemed like a nice girl and what was important is that Simon loved her, he really deeply loved her.
“We started to see him less but we thought, it’s a new relationship and that’s normal, then when we did see him, the phone calls never stopped. He was seeing less and less of his friends and when he did see them, his phone wouldn’t stop ringing.
“One time I noticed some marks on his face and it made my heart sink, I felt really uneasy. Another time, I’d given Simon some money for his birthday and he planned to buy tools for his work with it. He loved his job and he wanted to progress there.
“At this time, England were playing football and I later found out he’d used the money to buy his partner a football top. I said to him, ‘what about you Simon?’
“He’d planned to go out with his two best friends to watch the football for the first time in a long time and then he asked me if I would babysit the two young children. I asked why and it was because his partner wanted to go with him. I did end up babysitting because I knew that if I didn’t, Simon would have had to stay at home and wouldn’t have got this night with his friends.
“We saw less and less of Simon as time went on and there was something just not right about him, a spark was missing.
“I'd gone to see them one day and there was blood on the pavement in front of their door. I hadn’t given it much thought but putting it together with the marks on Simon’s face, him not spending his birthday money on himself, not being able to see his friends, not having any time to himself. I can see this now as all being controlling behaviour.
“On 26 July 2004, Simon had gone to work, he’d come home and we’d had a phone call, shared a joke about my new job. His partner was out again and he was home looking after the children.
“The next phone call I received was from the police. She’d attacked someone whilst she was out and then she’d come home and fatally stabbed my son. He’d got out of the house and called his own ambulance from the phone box but it was too late and he died on the way to hospital.
“All I have left of Simon now is memories and I don’t want anyone else’s son, grandson, brother or friend to be taken the way that Simon’s life was taken.
“He didn’t speak out about it, but men don’t tend to and we don’t see it. We don’t think about a man being controlled or beaten by a woman. Especially when Simon was well built and she was very slight in build. I know my Simon was a victim of domestic abuse.
“It's difficult to talk about domestic abuse whether you're a woman or a man because the person you’re talking about is someone that you still deeply love. Especially for a man, things tend to be joked about ‘Oh you’re under the thumb mate’ or ‘She’s got you where she wants you’.
“That’s why I’m speaking out and why we all have to speak out. Look for the signs and if you’re worried, talk about it. It may cause a bit of a row but if that’s all it causes and they are kept safe as a result, it’s worth it.
“We all have to do something and make sure no other family has to go through what we’ve been through.”
North Yorkshire Police Inspector Clare Crossan is lead for domestic abuse and stalking in the force. She said:
“Domestic abuse against men isn’t often talked about and whilst there are fewer reported incidents where the victim is male, this doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
“Men may not want to report it due to any stigma they feel or simply may not want to believe that they are victims. And this is why it’s so important that family, friends and colleagues stay vigilant for any signs of abuse. So often, we find individuals may fail to recognise, or struggle to come to terms with, the fact they are being abused. Support networks can play a vital role in helping them to understand this and to find help.
“The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as ‘Clare’s Law’, which came into force in 2014, gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.
“This scheme also allows a member of the public to make an enquiry into the partner of a close friend or family member. Any information which is found as a result of the request will not be disclosed to anyone, except the person in the relationship.
“If you are worried about a friend or family member and they are struggling to ask for help, you can make a Clare’s Law enquiry on their behalf or you can contact the police by calling 101.
“You can also contact the Independent Domestic Abuse Service (IDAS) by calling 03000 110 110. IDAS also has a Live Chat service on the website which is open 3pm-6pm Monday to Friday.
“Jose’s story is incredibly powerful and her courage in sharing the horrendous experience she and her family have gone through cannot be underestimated.
“If her story means that just one or two people get the help they need then it will be worthwhile but I very much hope that it reaches many millions more.”
A spokesperson from the Independent Domestic Abuse Service said:
“Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. Jose’s experience, and tragic loss, highlight that there is no stereotypical ‘victim’, but there are patterns of behaviour that we can be aware of that may allow us to offer support to help keep people safe from an abusive partner or family member.
“Jose bravely shared some of the warning signs of an abusive relationship, including a relationship moving very quickly; being constantly checked up on by your partner; being isolated from friends and family, and being unable to make independent choices. These behaviours are used by perpetrators to gain control over their partner, they may also use emotional abuse, coercion, jealousy, financial control, sexual abuse, and physical abuse.
“There may be no signs of violence, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t risk of serious harm. IDAS have supported male victims of domestic abuse for over a decade. Many victims say they worry about not being believed when they seek support and may feel that they are somehow to blame.
“Abuse is never the fault of the victim. Our experienced practitioners listen, without judgment and can explain your options, we will not tell you what to do.
“If you are concerned for a friend, colleague, or family member we would urge you to contact IDAS for advice and support. We have a Live Chat facility on our website where you can ask anonymous questions and receive advice from a trained domestic abuse practitioner. Live Chat is on our website between 3pm – 6pm Monday – Friday. Our helpline is 03000 110 110.”