Case Study: Adult child at home

Gwen

Facts

Gwen’s son Craig lived with her in her home on a rural property about one hour’s drive from Melbourne. Craig had issues with his mental health and drugs and was abusive towards her. He stole money from her purse, threatened to kill her and made no contribution to household expenses.

Despite Craig’s increasingly volatile and violent behaviour, Gwen felt a strong sense of ambivalence about taking action against him. She felt caught in a terrible bind between feeling responsible for helping her son and needing to feel safe in her own home.

Action & Outcome

Despite Gwen calling police to report the abuse, they did not take out a Family Violence Intervention Order on her behalf. As a last resort, and feeling fearful for her safety, Gwen went to her local court in person to make an application for an order. Craig was removed from the house after the interim order was granted. Gwen continued to feel unsafe despite the order being in place and changing the locks on her property. Craig breached the order by coming to her property on several occasions and she had to call the police.

A number of administrative errors caused delay in Gwen getting a final Intervention Order which caused her additional and unnecessary distress. She had significant mobility and health problems which made it very difficult to attend court, which was more than an hour away. However, a magistrate did exempt her from attending two mention dates once a medical certificate was provided.

Gwen hopes that Craig now leaves her in peace and quiet for the duration of the 12-month Intervention Order, and that they can rebuild their relationship one day.