Josh is 11 years old and was referred to the Youth Team in January 2017 by Families First. The referral stated that Josh was displaying aggressive behaviour at home and appeared to be targeting his aggression towards his mother and sister.
Josh’s mother, Sarah reported that he would ‘lose it’ when angry and she was struggling to cope, had to physically restrain him at times and admitted that she was afraid to be alone with him at times. Josh was receiving a high level of detentions at school and was also on the waiting list to see the education psychologist. Sarah was also concerned about the impact on his sister and also his younger brother witnessing his aggressive behaviour.
During the initial assessment with staff, Sarah was reluctant to discuss any negative behaviour in case Josh became angry and upset with her. Josh also did not make any eye contact with worker during initial session.
During the course of the support Josh received 6 1-2-1 sessions and he attended Youth Respect Group Sessions alongside. During this time, Josh and his worker discussed the concept of domestic abuse, identified his emotions and behaviours, explored his core beliefs and his expectations. Josh reported utilising ‘low-level’ self-harm which was discussed in depth with his worker.
During this work it was revealed that Josh was in fact a victim of school bullying which had resulted in him ‘seeking’ detentions in order to avoid the school walk home.
Sarah also received support from our parenting officer. As the main target of Josh’s abuse she felt conflicting emotions at times. Over 7 1-2-1 sessions plus family meetings, our Parenting Officer explored Sarah’s own experiences of abuse, her feelings of guilt, frustrations and anger. Our parenting officer also provided support sessions to Josh’s step-father in order for the home to ‘work together’ to support everyone.
Josh’s sister also received support from the Youth IDVA. This work included safety planning and emotional support.
Throughout the support, family members received 1-2-1 sessions, three family meeting to explore and build on positive relationships, Josh attended group sessions, and a residential event with other young people. Phoenix DAS staff also advocated for family members at multi-agency meetings.
At point of closure, all family member’s reported that the abusive behaviour had stopped and that positive improvements had been made in the family home. Feedback from Josh stated that he felt the work had improved communication between him and his mother, that he was now aware of the impact his actions had on others, and that he felt he could trust his support worker.
In respect of Sarah, work with the parenting officer appeared to increase the confidence in her parenting skills and this enhanced the relationship with all of her children. Mother reported on case closure that the most helpful part of the intervention for her was “being able to talk to someone who listened and did not judge me but offered appropriate advice”
*All names have been changed to protect confidentiality*