Powerless against a partner's denial

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The Independent Online
ANNE did not expect to get pregnant by James, her partner of two years. They had used contraception, writes Marianne Macdonald.

But two years ago she did. James told her: 'Either you get an abortion or I never speak to you again.' Anna intended to, but then realised she could not go through with it.

It was impossible to work full- time after the birth because Patrick, her son, kept her up all night. Anna went on to income support and asked James for a child-care allowance so she could work part- time. He refused. 'His attitude was that he had not wanted to have the child and I should take entire responsibility,' Anna says.

She was contacted by the Child Support Agency in May. She gave them James's name and address and was interviewed three times, but nothing happened. After months of waiting, Anna was told no maintenance had been set because James denied he was the father.

Anna has been pushing the CSA ever since to take her ex-partner - who is self-employed, with a comfortable income - to court. But it is slow to pursue the case.

'James never denied paternity before and I've got letters and tapes to prove he was the father. They say it's not cost-effective to take the case to court.

'I'm being called a liar and my child is going to grow up with a question mark over who his father was. It's like Victorian times - the man leaves, and the woman is thrown into the workhouse.'

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