*John, 20, from Doncaster, started the Working towards Change programme in February 2016. Working for Change is part of the Growing Futures project and is a partnership with Foundation 4 Change.
*Peter, a Doncaster Children’s Services Trust Growing Futures Engagement Worker approached John along with a social worker. Peter has also worked with other members of John’s family, as part of the project’s ‘whole family’ strategy.
Peter encouraged John to talk while in neutral surroundings, such as on bike rides. John has also attended group sessions with other perpetrators.
“When I first met Peter, he talked to me about how Growing Futures could support me. I told him that I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. I blamed the abuse on me being young and on me being drunk and under influence of drugs.”
“I’d assaulted my girlfriend while she was pregnant. I was not in a “good place” at the time, going out a lot, drinking, using cocaine.”
“My son is nearly two years old and lives with his mum, who is my ex-partner. Obviously, we had some problems, we separated. But they come over to my house every day. Now we get on really well. We are still not together again, but we are taking it slowly and enjoying being friends. My ex-partner and my mum are very close and get on very well.”
“My mum was married to a man who was abusive to her. Now she has a new partner and he is good to her.”
“Peter agreed to meet me at times that wouldn’t mean I had to finish work early, and I wouldn’t have to come to his office….he would come and see me at home.”
“It has made me realise that I had a problem. Now that I have worked with Peter and completed the Foundation for Change course I feel that me and my son’s mum are getting on better than ever, even though we are not back together again, as in a relationship. But I appreciate her, I love spending time with both of them at my mum’s house.”
“It’s been good how meetings can be at my house and at a time that is convenient. Doing the Foundation for Change course helped me learn a lot from listening to the staff there, but also mainly from talking with and listening to the other blokes on the course.”
“The other good thing is that Growing Futures have supported my ex-partner too. I think we are all better off, my son included.”
“I’ve learned that drinking alcohol or taking drugs cannot be blamed solely for the abuse.”
“I feel a lot calmer now…more in control of my actions. I have learned to talk more, be more open about how I feel.”
“Admitting I had a problem was actually really difficult. But when I had accepted that I had a problem and started to get help, and realised that a lot of people do this (abuse their partners) I felt better.”
“My mum was very disappointed when she found out what I had done. Like I said, she was married to a man who was violent to her. My mum said that she wishes there would have been support like this (Growing Futures) when she was younger.”
“My advice to others now would be to think about what you are doing to the people you say you love. Some of the blokes on the course (Foundation for Change) were a lot older than me and they said that they wished they had got help years ago. My advice would be to not put your head under the sand…think about how you are hurting your partner, think about how you want your kids to think about you…do you want them to be scared of you. Get help. Help is there.”
*False names have been used to protect identities.