Tom* grew up with a violent father who frequently abused him. Before long, Tom started behaving aggressively too, which can happen after experiencing violence at home. With the help of Comic Relief-funded CLEAR, Tom is now a changed boy, much happier and more settled.
For most of his childhood, Tom’s home never felt safe. “We were getting domestic abuse from my dad,” says Tom. “He would threaten us, physically and mentally ever since I can remember. It was towards me, my mum and my sister. He would hit us, slap, kick us and slam doors in our faces. I wasn’t sure if it was normal or not.”
It was in the last 12 months before they left that things were particularly bad, according Tom’s mum Jenny*: “It was horrendous. He would make threats about the children if he thought I was going to leave.”
Eventually, with the help of social services, the family made arrangements to flee. Months later, once Tom’s father had moved out, they were back in the family home but it was then that Tom started behaving angrily himself.
“I realised what dad had been doing wasn’t right and I got angry at dad but because he wasn’t there, I took it out on my mum,” says Tom. “I would shout and get physical. I felt bad as I knew it wasn’t their fault.”
Thankfully, Tom discovered a Comic Relief-funded project called CLEAR which offered him vital support and things began to change for the better. “With CLEAR I had creative activities which were fun,” says Tom. “It also gave me someone to talk to. I’ve learnt to deal with emotions, not just letting it build up so I explode all at once and get angry.”
“It’s been a life saver,” says Jenny. “He has gone from being someone me and his sister were frightened of to a completely changed child.”
*The names in this story have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
"It also gave me someone to talk to. I’ve learnt to deal with emotions, not just letting it build up."