Because they can no longer stand the situation at home, two children have the courage to speak up. From a young age, they remember their drunken father who became violent with and with their mother. They trust the nurse and the principal educational advisor in their college. The gendarmes heard them, while their father asked them not to say anything so as not to get bored, the two children spoke frankly. As I heard their mother confirm their statements: beatings, slaps, insults, humiliation.. He was placed in police custody, the father admitted the facts while belittling them. Since last January, he has been placed under judicial supervision with prohibited contact with his wife and children. He went back to live with his parents, continued the psychiatric care imposed on him and stopped drinking altogether.
‘I wasn’t aware of the damage I was doing’
At the head of the court, at the beginning of April, Dominic (first name changed) faces the judges as well as her children present, accompanied by their mother and a lawyer to defend their interests. violence ? Yes, he recognizes them, “a few slaps in the head”, “a few kicks in the ass”, “little punches for harassment”, in short, nothing too bad. The chief addressed it: “Both of your sons said they were afraid of you!” Dominic apologizes: “I got sucked into alcohol, unaware of the harm I was doing. I didn’t think they could think of all this.” home to them, that he respected all protocol and he only wants one thing today: “My goal is to continue to follow protocol, to be irreversible and to go home.”
A mother unable to protect her children
His partner agrees. “I think he’s loyal today,” she says shyly, ready to resume living together. The chief reminds him, however, that she was not very protective of her children, and that she locked herself in her room when the weather turned bad. She admits this because she saw herself as “incapable” of managing the situation, and the victim of her husband’s violence.
For this reason, a lawyer is present to specifically defend the interests of the two children. Me Grévot begins his argument by stressing “the courage of those children who act more like adults than their parents.” It evokes the near-daily violence, insults and insults these children have known for years. She is worried about the future. “The lady is still unable to protect her children,” she said before questioning the father’s “cure” after “strong and old alcoholism.” Justice asks to protect children.
Avoid repeating the facts
The attorney general shares this view and raises “all bets on punishment that at the same time this unacceptable behavior must be punished while allowing the resumption of ‘normal life’ by avoiding a renewal of the facts”. He spends six months in prison with probation deferred with obligations to care, work and compensate his victims.
Then the defense attorney enters the scene. He also welcomes the “courageous statements of children” before addressing his client’s situation. “He recognized the facts and became aware of his own actions. He says it himself: I was wrong all the way.” The lawyer presents blood tests that prove that Dominic no longer drinks alcohol and concludes his argument with these words: “With the support of the family, he will be able to get out of it.”
But Dominic has the last word in this session. He turns to his children and partner to send them “I’m sorry” in the eye.
The father must prove himself
The judge largely follows the prosecution’s requests for a six-month prison sentence with a two-year suspension of probation accompanied by commitments to psychological care, addiction, work and compensation for children of up to 1,000 euros each. But she also added a ban on the family home so Dominic could prove herself before calling for the ban to be lifted.