real life

'I was devastated when my daughter refused to see me. Then detectives showed up to my house.'

This article contains content that some readers may find distressing. 

I was at home watching TV when I looked out the window to see a group of men marching down my driveway towards my front door. 

They knocked and said they were plain-clothes detectives from the child protection unit.

They told me they were there about my 15-year-old daughter Carrie* and my blood ran cold. 

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I had separated from my husband in 2018. Carrie was 10 at the time and our only child. Later that year I started dating my coworker Kyle*, who I'd known for two years by then. He was charming, funny and made me feel really good about myself... I fell hard.  

A year later, I moved in with him. Carrie would stay with us during the week and with my ex-husband during weekends and holidays. We all seemed to be adjusting well to the new situation. Kyle was absolutely wonderful with my daughter and they adored each other. There was so much joy and laughter — but then the pandemic hit.

Both Kyle and I were essential workers so work became stressful. I struggled to cope and eventually had to give up my job entirely because of my poor mental health.

Carrie was in her first year of high school and didn’t cope well with the disruption of schooling from home, so my ex-husband and I decided she might be happier living with him and his new partner who also had daughters.


Letting her go was the hardest thing I ever did, but I knew it was right. My instincts told me so. 

My daughter had the chance to grow up in a family environment instead of just with me and my partner. The change in environment was just what she needed, she started thriving and would visit us during the school holidays. 

The arrangement worked well for a few years until my daughter was around 14 and stopped wanting to visit me... 

I was very confused and upset; convinced it was all my fault. I tried not to force anything and just follow her lead but our relationship felt distant and I didn’t understand why. This went on for the best part of a year until the detectives came to my house... 


I couldn't believe what I was hearing when the lead detective told me they were there to arrest Kyle because he had attempted to groom Carrie.

My first instinct was that the complaint must have come from my ex-husband, trying to cause trouble. 

I was wrong. "The complaint came from your daughter," the lead detective told me.

"It must be a mistake," I said. But the lead detective looked me in the eye and said: "We have evidence." 

I could tell from the tone of her voice and the expression on her face that it was true. 

Even though I was in complete shock, when I looked back I realised there were red flag moments that I had missed. 


When Carrie was around 13 or 14, Kyle would play-wrestle with her on the floor. One particular night that was happening, he just had this look on his face that made me feel a bit weird. I'd told myself at the time I was just being paranoid — now I know I wasn't. 

There was another occasion around that same time when Carrie had a friend come to sleepover during the school holidays. I had later found out Kyle had given the girls beers after I'd gone to bed, which I was furious about. 

The detectives detained me as a precaution while we waited for Kyle to come home so they could arrest him. 

I was extremely distressed so asked police if one of my close friends could come over. They agreed, and she rushed over to be with me. 

As Kyle arrived home, I wasn't allowed to see or speak to him. I fled with my friend to her house where I have been living ever since. 

That night, I knew my relationship was over. There was no going back from a thing like that.

Later, I had a very emotional phone call with Carrie who shared some of the horrifying details with me.

She told me Kyle had started by telling her she was "hot" and "sexy". He then started to send her inappropriate photos and transferred her $3000 over the course of a few months, all behind my back. 

Carrie had started to feel his behaviour was inappropriate so told her step-mum what was happening. My ex's partner then took her to the police. 

Carrie had been due to come and stay with us during the holidays which were just two weeks away. The detectives said they had acted fast because they'd been deeply concerned about what he might do on that visit. It didn't bear thinking about. 


Overwhelmed by guilt, I apologised for putting Carrie in such a dangerous situation. "It's okay, Mum. It's over now," she said, which broke my heart further.

She knew I had no idea about what had been going on and that I'd never let Kyle near us again.  

The next morning I briefly saw Kyle when I returned to my house to get some belongings. He tried to tell me it was all a big mistake, that'd he'd given my daughter some money but there was nothing sinister going on. 

I knew the truth.

Carrie and I are closer than ever now. We’ve spoken every day since what happened and our relationship feels back to normal.

She's still living with her dad but is coming to visit soon. I'm excited to keep up our tradition of coffee, chocolate and bingeing Gilmore Girls. She's doing well at school and has even talked about now wanting to join the police to become part of the child protection unit. 

Personally, I’m doing well too considering everything that's happened, however, I’m living like a recluse. Seeing him or his friends would be too triggering for me. Fortunately, I was already a home body and I enjoy that life. I’m studying art online and keeping myself busy.

Kyle has been in and out of court seven times but we still don't have an outcome. The detective said it’s a complicated, drawn-out process. 

All I can hope is that the truth prevails and we can move on with our lives. 

*Names have been changed for safety purposes.

Feature image: Canva.