Gary’s story Caring Dads: Safer Children helped him change for the better

man helping boy with homework“When I got angry my mind just went blank. In the house I was punching walls and hitting things and my wife didn’t want it around the children. She rang the police, who contacted social services and they referred me on to NSPCC. I wasn’t sure about the Caring Dads programme at the start.

"I thought it was just bringing more outsiders into our family’s problems – the problems I was causing. But when I met the team and they explained what we would be doing, I felt happier to be involved.

“The programme isn’t just about you, it involves the whole family. It allows the children to get their feelings out, so they’re not holding anything back. My big fear was that the children would think it was an ok way to behave.

"I'd noticed my oldest child, who is 17, starting to behave the way I was – he thought it was acceptable."

“It’s group work rather than one-to-one, so you have other people telling their stories and how they’ve reacted in various situations. You listen and think “why did they do that” but you know you can’t judge because you’ve done it yourself. As the group sessions go on you gain an understanding of how to deal with issues better. Until I went to the group, if anyone had even looked at me the wrong way I was reacting to it, but I’ve learnt how to control myself – I had to.

“I’d noticed my oldest child, who is 17, starting to behave the way I was – he thought it was acceptable. I’m now trying to get it into his head that the way I was behaving was so wrong. My other children were also scared to come near me for a long time. They wanted to be with their dad, but not when I was angry. I couldn’t tell what would set me off – it could have been someone looking at me funny in a bar, or just watching TV. I had no control.

"There's no one lecturing – it's about talking to other people and working it out for yourself."

“The children love it now. I’m back at home and they know there’ll be no arguments or damage to the house. I have a big smile on my face when they come in from school. I sit and help them do homework, take them to do things they’re interested in – football, ballet or whatever it is this week.

“I’ve had problems for years and have been getting help from different places but nothing was changing. This really worked for me. There’s no one lecturing – it’s about talking to other people and working it out for yourself. I had to change for my partner and for my children’s sake. They needed to know that how I reacted wasn’t right, and that they shouldn’t follow suit. I’d say to anyone that getting help and understanding how you can change is the only way to make their lives – and yours – better.”


Names have been changed to protect identities. Any photographs are posed by models.

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Caring Dads: Safer Children

Helping fathers see the impact their violent behaviour has on their children and how they can make positive changes for the future.
Caring Dads: Safer Children service

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