Championing our trainees is at the heart of our work and this week we’re sharing the story of Louise, one of the women who produced and directed, ‘Without My Child’. This poignant and timely documentary explores the affects of having your child removed from your care through the eyes of those who have experienced it. Their powerful testimonies highlight the need for greater support for parents involved in care proceedings.
Having always been interested in filming and photography, Louise was keen to participate in our film-training course, which was delivered in partnership with, Action for Change - a new initiative supporting parents who have had a child removed from their care.
Read more about Louise’s journey towards a new kind of confidence in herself and her abilities.
I’ve always been confident, but when we started the film-training project a year ago I was still very angry and emotional about what had happened. My child was removed in 2012 because of my ex-partner was violent towards me; I was feeling very powerless back then and started to drink in order to cope with the situation. Being able to watch myself in the film now reminds me of what a long way I’ve come from those days.
I got involved with the film project through Action for Change which I came across about four years after my child was removed. I jumped on board and started by travelling to Budapest with a group of women and doing a crash course in photography. It was amazing - just walking around, exploring the city’s architecture and capturing all that through our camera lenses.
I’ve always been taking photos, but now I learned to technically use a proper camera and take interesting shots by using different angles. Thinking new camera perspectives makes you look at the whole world differently! It was also very interesting to get to know other parents’ stories. We all shared quite painful things with each other and became very close.
Venturing out on the streets and interviewing people was so much fun and always made me feel like anything could happen; it was nice to be surprised by what people had to say. You assume certain things based on how people look like or how they dress, and often it’s just not true.
The best thing about the project was seeing the results of our work and gaining a new sense of achievement. For once I felt I was in the right place at the right time; it was really great to make a film, but it also lead me to do many other interesting things, like volunteering for Domestic Violence agency Advance and applying my new skills to that.
The documentary we made looks at our own experiences; we are all women who have been affected by the government’s decision to remove our children. For me, it is all connected to domestic violence - I feel people often don’t understand how deeply that affects a person, and how difficult it is to move on from that situation.
The finished film, “Without My Child”, premiered at the Curzon Victoria. I was so glad to see how the audience reacted to the film and how it seemed to make many reconsider their views about parents who’ve lost the custody of their children.
Who should see this film? I hope people working as social workers will see it, but also anyone aspiring to be a social worker and people working for domestic violence agencies. I think social workers simply don’t have enough training to deal with the traumatic experience parents go through when losing their child or the complexity of domestic violence, and I hope our film could help change that.
When we started the film I wasn’t working, but now I have a job working I absolutely love getting up for every morning. I’ve learned a lot about myself too. I’m more in control of my own attitude, I’m more positive of my own future - and I feel a lot more powerful.
I want to continue taking photos and developing my skills in that. I’d absolutely love to stay involved with See Change Films - don’t even think you can get rid of me!