The mum-of-three worries Progress Housing Group will evict her family due to the 14-year-old's involvement in teenage gangs. This is despite Kathryn Murray “begging” authorities for more professional support for his behavioural conditions, named Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The 39-year-old claims her son is violent towards his family, saying: “I’ve had problems with him from day one. He’s a nightmare. I fear that if he carries on, I’ll lose my home and he’ll end up in prison, 100 percent.
“It’s like being in an abusive relationship but I can’t leave it because he’s my son. He towers above me but the police expect me to control him.
“I’ve been going round and round for years. I’ve been to the police and begged them to arrest him but they’ve done nothing because he’s a minor. Yet they’re alright with pushing a letter through my door [asking me to control his behaviour].
“They knock on my door, and it terrifies my other son. It’s traumatic for me, and I’m an adult.”
Kathryn, who works with disabled children, added: “I’ve never excused his behaviour. I’ve never had a brush with the police. I work full-time and pay my rent. I have a 16-year-old daughter who’s in college and is never one ounce of trouble, and an 11-year-old autistic son who is an angel.
“I know I’m his mother and I’m responsible for him but [the blame] shouldn’t just come down on me. I’ve tried everything suggested to me a million times. I’m not a professional. I can’t arrest my own son.
“I think authorities don’t know what else to do and they’re happy to blame me.
“Why should a family suffer because they’re failing him?”
The mum claims she was forced to ring 999, and contact social services three times, after he attacked both herself and his siblings during lockdown.
“The police aren’t there when we need them. I feel ignored by them. They don’t come out until weeks later.
“They say they’ve now gathered enough evidence to do something but the damage has already been done.
“Social services ticked boxes and discharged me each time as they couldn’t see any problems with my parenting. They said it’s a medical issue but, if [the violence] had been [inflicted] the other way round, they’d have helped straightaway.”
Instead, she said: “I’m left alone.”
She claims Lancashire County Council left her in the dark for more than a year about an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) being issued for the teenager in 2020, blocking them from accessing vital funding to pay for additional support for his special educational needs. A Youth Offending Team has also discharged him twice for refusing to engage with staff.
“I don’t know what else is left. My close friend has been my only support. What more can I do? Why should I be held accountable for his crimes?”
The youth was diagnosed with ADHD at age 12 and put on medication. He is also being screened for autism.
“He’s quick to react then thinks of the consequences [when it’s] too late. He’s that reckless, he was knocked down three years ago and ended up in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
“He has always been hyperactive, and breaks things: doors; computers, TVs. He began speech therapy at two-years-old, and his schools have always known about it.”
The teenager feels “frustrated and lashes out” at his behavioural school, The Heights, Blackburn, as “he feels unheard”, according to his mum, who has asked authorities to place him in a school for additional needs.
Kathryn says her son’s antisocial behaviour began by throwing stones, smashing car windows, and stealing pop and sweets from shops at 10-years-old but has now progressed to stealing e-cigarettes and skipping school.
The former nursery nurse added: “It’s become worse and worse. He’s very vulnerable and gullible and lots of kids prey on that [as] he’ll do what they say.”
Kathryn, who has worked in childcare for 19 years, says she is suffering from anxiety due to Facebook abuse about her son’s unruly behaviour.
She added: “People say the parents are probably sitting at home doing coke and don’t work. I’ve never drank in my life and I have two disabled children. The trolling on Facebook really affects you when you’re doing everything you can. I’m sick of the judgement. I walk down the street and people give me dirty looks - I don’t even know them.
“If people stopped judging, they’d see the suffering we’ve been through. He is not just a bad kid. There’s more to it and he has a parent who bends over backwards to get him help.”
Tammy Bradley, executive director of Progress Housing Group, says the accommodation provider is working with local authorities to help prevent antisocial behaviour involving its tenants.
Tammy said: “We are working with a number of local teams such as Lancashire Police and South Ribble Borough Council regarding anti-social behaviour incidents that have occurred in the Bamber Bridge area.
“However, this work has been to try and put in place supportive interventions with the Youth Offending Team and work with the families to prevent any further incidents, not evict them.
“Whilst we do not tolerate behaviour that causes stress or alarm to other residents within our communities, alongside our partners, we will always try our best to offer what support we can before considering any legal action that could result in an eviction. We strongly encourage tenants to work with us and contact us if there are any concerns about anti-social behaviour, their tenancies or if they require any additional support.”
Lancashire County Council has been contacted for comment regarding the claims made about the EHCP.
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