“I first started working with Joey and Grace when I was 12. I was introduced to them during a meeting at school. When I was told they were from the NSPCC and I was going to do a programme with them I laughed, I didn’t think that they would be able to help me. They told me they were going to support me to improve my healthy relationships with people and to understand my harmful sexual behaviour.
“I was always getting in fights at school with other children so I wasn’t getting any school work done. There was a lot going on in my family when I first started working with Joey and Grace. We were living with my mum’s boyfriend Mike at the time. Living with him was hellish and his behaviour affected my life. When he would hit me I’d think that it was a one off and it wouldn’t happen again. But it did. I felt like I couldn’t express my feelings at home so I had to do it at school. I think that’s why I was getting into so many fights with other children.
"I'd pulled my bedroom door off its hinges a couple of times. I didn't know how to deal with my anger."
“I used to have a mixed relationship with my mum and would take out my anger on her too. I would hit, kick, punch and bite her when I was angry. I’d pulled my bedroom door off its hinges a couple of times. I didn’t know how to deal with my anger.
“Joey and Grace have helped me understand that by being violent and aggressive I’m showing similar behaviour to my dad and step-dad. I understand that I can be manipulative and now I try really hard not to be. Now I have a good relationship with my mum, the kind a mother and son should have. I feel better since I’ve been coming to the NSPCC service centre. I feel like I don’t have to hold everything in all the time and I can talk about my feelings and frustrations.
“I’ve learnt that when I’m angry, it’s not just me that’s impacted, it affects the people around me. I’ve got to think about my mum and my little brother and how my anger makes them feel. I got really scared when my brother started to swear and be aggressive – I didn’t want him copying my behaviour.
"I've made some massive leaps in what I understand about myself."
“When I’m angry I squeeze my stress ball or go and be by myself. If I’m angry at home I’ll go to my bedroom and listen to music or play on my computer. I’ve learnt that running also calms me down so sometimes I run up and down my garden. After about half an hour of being by myself I’m always ready to apologise. When I feel like I want to hit someone I say to myself: “Stop, walk away, I’m not as stupid as this,” and it really works.
“Teachers have told me that I’m doing a lot better at school now and I’m winning awards for my schoolwork. I have really good attendance too. I was asked to leave most lessons I was in because I was always getting into fights, but that doesn’t happen anymore. Joey tells me that I’ve got a good brain in my head and now I’m using it.
“It feels like a lot of things have come together at the same time to make me feel better. I’ve made some massive leaps in what I understand about myself. I’ve got a new house, we don’t live with my step-dad anymore and I know how to control my feelings. I know I’m not going to wreck this new house like I did the old one. I feel more positive about my sexually harmful behaviour too. I feel like I’ve really changed. I know I can’t change the past now, but I can change my future.”