Q:

Should we involve the police?

Hi Vic, my 17 year old daughter has been subjected to violence by her 17 year old boyfriend. Because she knows this is wrong, she has both informed us and separated from him. 

The offending was bad enough that if he had been a stranger, I would have been to the police already. 

However, he still lives at home and prior to the abuse we have had many conversations with him about the difficulties he has had with dysfunctional family and emotionally abusive mother. (Father sits on the side line).

So I would rather get him help via a service (hopefully without parental involvement to begin with because I believe that would be detrimental.) 

I feel sure he is aware that we "know" what has happened, and so how best to approach it if he won't come to see us by request? Offer an ultimatum to meet at the family violence centre/councillor/? Or I will call the police?

My wife and want to help both of them.

I believe this is the best way to help both of them. Our daughter still ‘pines' for the boyfriend and so there is a risk she may succumb to the ‘I'm sorry it won't happen again' routine.


A:

Hi thank you for caring enough to write in.

I think it is definitely an option to call the Police, even though he is someone you know - in some ways there is even more reason to call the Police because it IS someone you know who is perpetrating violence on your daughter.

I understand that you both want to help but you need to realise the extent and the limitations of that help.

I know you mean well, but the issues that he has are deep and entrenched from his past requiring the intervention by those that have the experience of working with people like him.

Involving the Police can connect him to that intervention, or he can make that connection himself if he is willing to take responsibility for the violence he did.

He is young at 17 and will not know any better than what he learnt already and may not want to change.

HE needs to take responsibility for his actions and let his parents know what has happened and the steps he is taking to keep himself and others safe.

He definitely needs to come and see you but that would be after he has rung 0800 456 450 and got the contact details of a local stopping violence programme, joined it and is doing the programme and is on the journey of becoming a safe man free of violence.

It would be only after he has some clarity around the violence that he is perpetrating that a real discussion can take place with you.

Unfortunately men perpetrate family violence because they do not have the tools, skills or abilities to communicate in any way, mainly because they have never been taught, shown or given these positive skills.

I know because I never knew any of these things either and it wasn't till I went to a stopping violence programme that I got this knowledge.

As a 17 year old he has a long life ahead of him and it is really good that he has this chance and opportunity to establish a positive lifestyle free of violence.

It's good for you to provide the support and friendship while he goes through the process of uncovering, discovering and recovering from the issues of family violence.

The next issue and the more pertinent and important one for you is YOUR DAUGHTER.

She might need some help and counselling to address the issue of violence that she has been subjected to. She needs to ‘pine' for a good, safe man not that violent one.

He needs to go through his journey to be a safe man and she needs to go through hers and the beauty is that they will have the both of you there to support them on the journey.

Vic

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