When he was arrested, I was terrified. He would come and find me. He would come and hurt me. He would make me disappear.
“He is on bail” my SOIT officer reassured me. “He is not allowed to contact you. He would be in a lot of trouble if he did”. It didn’t stop the fear. He was already in a lot of trouble, it didn’t stop him hurting me before.
He would be bailed for a period of time; 6-8 weeks, and each time he had to report to his local police station. I had no idea where that was. I was constantly looking around, in a state of hyper vigilance. Every older man I saw, is that him? I couldn’t relax at any point. I had to be ready to run.
Each time that bail date rolled round I was anxious. Terrified he wouldn’t turn up. Terrified he had done a runner, left the county or worse, had killed himself. I didn’t want him to escape justice now that I had finally found the strength to report it.
I lived like this for around 16 months. The law changed. People could no longer be held on bail indefinitely. But I was told as he was arrested before the change in law it wouldn’t affect us. I Just as I started to feel, ok, this is how it’s going to be, and then the rug was pulled from under me.
I was called and told because he wasn’t a flight risk, they could no longer place him on bail. He was to be released under further investigation. This meant there would be NO BAIL CONDITIONS IN PLACE. I was terrified.
I just hung on to the fact that when he was charged, they would apply for remand or the very least his passport.
I lived for another 7 months even more terrified than I had been before. When the people at the top make these decisions they don’t realise what it is like for the survivors , or for the officers who are supporting them. Their hands were tied. There was nothing they could do.
The unintended consequences of not having a suspect on bail means that to change them, you have to send the charges through the post. You cannot demand that they attend the police station. The officers in our case chose to hand deliver the charges. That is when they discovered he had moved. It also meant that when he was charged, he had to be charged at the front desk, not the custody suite. It meant the he couldn’t be placed on remand.