Growing up, Harry witnessed his father being physically and verbally aggressive towards his mother.


Harry was 10 years old when he was referred to Talk Time project. Growing up, Harry witnessed his father being physically and verbally aggressive towards his mother and his dad didn't allow him to show his emotions so he often kept what he was feeling bottled up. He didn't talk very much and silently witnessed what was going on at home.

Eventually his mum spoke out about the domestic violence. The courts stopped Harry’s father from coming home and seeing him and his other siblings but his dad showed up on occasion and was quite threatening towards the whole family. There was a restraining order put in place, which then protected the family.

Every day was a struggle for Harry. Seeing his parents arguing daily had a negative effect on him. He had a very low opinion of his father and didn't want to see him. Due to the family breakdown, Harry was not very confident at school or at home - he struggled with his self-esteem and didn't interact much. 

His mum often said that Harry found it difficult to show his emotions due to his father not allowing him to express himself growing up, his dad was very harsh on him. His mum also had concerns that Harry was on the autistic spectrum, which impacted further on his self-esteem as he struggled in social situations and did not have any friends.

The family was referred to Action for Children last year for support and work was done to improve Harry’s self-esteem and confidence. A worker spent time with him individually, helping him to express himself and talk about what he wanted through many activities around promoting emotional wellbeing and helping him to feel more comfortable in his surroundings.

Harry had stated that he would like the opportunity to learn to swim. He was due to have lessons with school in January and was worried that he would be the only one who couldn’t swim. With voluntary income we were able to provide Harry with some 1 to 1 swimming tuition, prior to his lessons at school. This helped to build Harry’s self confidence in a new situation, as he would know exactly what to expect when going with school and didn't worry about failing. Harry’s mum said that after each lesson Harry very excitedly told her about how they had gone and what he had learnt. Mum said this was something new as he wasn’t usually vocal.

Mum was very happy with the service that Harry received, as she felt it gave him the opportunity to talk openly to someone who was not personally involved. It also gave him a chance to try something new and help him to feel good about himself.