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Max* has seen and heard violence throughout his young life. He has seen his dad throw his mum against the wall, kick her, pin her down and spit on her face.
“One time, a Policeman came and took my dad away. The lady from Shine came and talked to my mum for a long time.
Daddy came home the next day. He was sad. He said me and mum are going to get lots of presents for Christmas and lots of nice things to eat.
But then another day he got angry again and started yelling. I grabbed his leg, and I was telling him Stop it stop it! Please don’t hurt my mum! But he didn’t hear and kicked me off his leg, even though I was holding on really tight. Then I went on my back and it hurt and I couldn’t breathe. I was just lying there. I was so scared of my dad. Daddy threw a plate at mummy, then there was blood on her face and everywhere. I was scared that my mummy was hurt really bad. Daddy told my mum that if she took us away he would find us and kill us. Then he went outside and drove away in his car. I was really crying.
Mummy rang that Shine lady on the phone. Then my mum put some clothes and stuff in a suitcase and we went to the Shine house that mummy said is a refuge.
At the refuge, I got to play games with the other kids, but I missed my old room and my house. I missed daddy, and I was scared. I knew he was angry cos we left. In the night I think about scary things and then I wake up and mummy is there with me and she says don’t worry.
Then me and mum moved to a new home. A man from Shine named John came and talked to me and we drawed pictures. I told him I miss my dad. I also told him I am worried he will hurt mum again. Who will look look after me if mummy gets dead?
John told me it was okay to miss dad, but my dad should never ever hurt my mum. He told me if something bad happened again, the best thing to do to help mum is to get her phone and run away, then when I am safe I ring 111. He told me what to say so the police will come. Then he talked to my mum so she knows and now I know what to do. John came back some more and I really like to talk to him. Then I didn’t see him for a long time. Last time he came I told him that mum sings me songs now. I told him I went to daddy’s house. I was a little scared if he was going to be angry but mostly he was still sad. I’m going to see him again but mum says me and her are going to stay living in our new house and this is where we are going to have Christmas. Daddy asked if I will go see him at Christmas and mommy says yes I will see him too.
Mummy and me said thank you to John and to Shine for helping us. I don’t think about bad things happening in the night anymore and my mummy says not to worry anymore that she is fine.”
*Identifying details have been changed and representative photos used to protect privacy and safety
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