John is 18 and has a four-month baby. He’s separated from the 18-year old mother because of his domestic violence.
His child was the subject of a child protection plan under the category of neglect, initially as an unborn child when John assaulted his four-week pregnant partner.
John lives with his mother and his two younger siblings. John’s father did not play an active role in his life but he has vivid recollections of his father when he was young, and the domestic violence he and his mother were subjected to.
The police knew John’s mother because he had assaulted her. She’d also called police years earlier when she found her son John self-harming and damaging household property. Police witnessed an argument between the 14-year-old John and his mother about what his father had done to him when he was younger
When John first met his St Michael’s keyworker, he had fresh cuts and bruises on his face and hands. John told the keyworker that he’d had a fight with his ex-partner, her sister, father and her sister’s boyfriend. He said he had little recollection of the incident because he was so drunk at the time.
John was very clear that he wanted help to stop his feelings of rage. He believed his harmful behaviour was because of his father’s domestic violence. His father had taught him to beat women if they disagreed with him.
John and his keyworker decided that John needed support to:
- Resume contact with his child
- Understand his role as father and be clear about his rights and responsibilities
- Manage anger and eradicate violent behaviour
- Repair breakdowns in relationships
- Address past experiences of abuse through counselling
- Explore the impact of alcohol dependency.
In additional to concentrated one to one work, St Michael’s worked closely with health professionals at Lambeth Primary Care Psychological Therapies Service and he took part in the Caring Dads programme.
The on-going support has meant that John is now able to meet his child regularly. The support that both parents received from different keyworkers and group work at St Michael’s means they now have a range of parenting skills and can safeguard their child. John and his baby’s birth mother now negotiate contact in a mature manner, giving their child the chance to thrive in the two co-parenting households. The child is now deregistered from the child protection plan.