Interview fuels woman's concern over disclosure: The violent partner

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SARAH has heard the advertisements, listened to the politicians and read the assurances of the Child Support Agency. They say that she will not be forced to name the father of her 12-year-old son, a man who would drink himself into a state of frenzied aggression and threaten to kill the entire family.

But she remains unconvinced. Her concern was fuelled by an interview at a Department of Social Security office in south London last year, when she says she was almost bounced into disclosing details of the man she still fears, more than five years after they split up.

Visiting the office to say that she could not attend a forthcoming interview, Sarah was taken into a private room and asked about her former partner. When she began to protest, she realised that the door had been locked. She had to grab the key and force her way out. 'It would have been very easy to name him just to get out of there. I'm sure lots of women will,' she said.

But Sarah (not her real name) said that any demand for maintenance could prompt violence, and is adamant that she does not want anything to do with her former partner. 'I don't want any dependence on him. I don't feel he owes me anything.'