Trigger Warning* – Child online sexual abuse, trauma

It was just after dinner about a year ago and the family was starting their night-time routine. Dinner, bath, bed for the kids. And perhaps a glass of wine for the adults, once the little ones were asleep. 

Seemingly, there was nothing out of the ordinary about this household – a nuclear family in a suburb of Melbourne. Mum, Dad, and three young kids, including a preschooler.

Law enforcement turned up when the family would be home. Bam! Bam! Bam! on the front door. Two plain clothes police standing there. They ask to speak to Andrew, the father. Amanda’s husband.*

She looks at them like they’ve landed from outer space. “What’s this about?” Amanda asks the officers, ashen in the face. The police don’t answer her question. “We need to speak to your husband,” one policeman repeats. 

This is the first time she’s ever had an inkling her hard-working and beloved husband might be a person who used and distributed child sexual abuse material (CSAM). In that split second, everything Amanda knew about her life and her marriage was pulled out from underneath her.

The children were so distressed that after the police raid, they refused to go back into the home office for months. This is where law enforcement seized phones, computers and hard drives. The smallest child, just four, started wetting the bed again despite being toilet trained for a couple of years.

For the next 14 months Amanda focused on making sure the children never found out what their father had done and therefore didn’t tell anyone at all, carrying the burden alone…until she found PartnerSPEAK.

Natalie Walker