Jenny is a 15 year old girl who has been having a difficult time at home. Her Dad has a short temper and gets angry often and in Jenny’s words “…some times he just flips. You’ll never know why” and “when he’s angry somebody is gonna get it….” Jenny doesn’t like this violence but she can’t remember a time when things were different at home.
About 5 months ago she met Andrew, a 16 year old athletic boy, who plays in her school’s football team and they have been dating ever since. Andrew started off by being an ideal boyfriend. He was always in a good mood and pleased to see her at school. They spent as much time together as possible particularly on weekends and some evenings after school.
Andrew has a lot of male friends at school and “lots of girls fancy him” because “he is a good looking boy”.
After a couple of months into their relationship Andrew started telling Jenny off when she talked to other boys at school even though the conversations were innocent. Jenny’s friends talked to her about this, but, Jenny was adamant that he loved her so much he didn’t like her talking to other boys. Then Andrew became moody if Jenny wanted to see a female friend after school so she stopped meeting up with her friends.
Andrew began texting her more than 20 times a day even though they were at the same school. During the evenings if they were not together he would text her every 10 to 15 minutes asking what she was doing and who she had been talking to and what they were saying. Jenny thought he must really love her to keep doing this.
One Saturday morning Jenny forgot her phone at home when going shopping with her Mum. When she went home, she had more than 50 missed phone calls and infinite texts from Andrew. She immediately called him apologising for having forgotten her phone but he was furious shouting. She told Andrew that she will make it up to him and rushed over to his place. In Andrew’s room she explained how she forgot her phone and how sorry she was.
Andrew: “So you’ll make it up to me? Heh”
Jenny: “Yeah, I promise you. I’m really, really sorry.”
Andrew then slapped her and said “This is so you never fxxking forget again and isn’t anything like how much you hurt me.” He then grabbed her and they had sex. Afterwards all seemed to have calmed down. Jenny thought of how much her face hurt and how much Andrew should have felt hurt.
Ever since then Andrew has become increasingly demanding and finds any reason to punish Jenny hitting her, or embarrassing her in front of classmates. Afterwards they always talk and Andrew tells her how much he loves her and how he wants her to himself and feels irritated when there are other people around her. Many times she thinks about how difficult Andrew can be but finds comfort in how much he loves her. She thinks “He loves me really so much, otherwise, with all the girls wanting him, why should he care?”
The intensity and frequency of Andrew’s anger has increased and so has the persistence and efforts of Jenny to appease him and to “make it up to him.” Until 3 weeks ago when she told Andrew that she is 2 months pregnant. Andrew starting shouting at her and asking whose baby that was, and used his belt to beat her up. She ran away from Andrew’s place and went back home. She had not told anyone at home about her violent relationship with Andrew and he presented as a good caring young adult. However, at this time she broke down in tears and told her mother about what had happen. It was during their conversation when her father came back after having had “a few drinks” with his pals. He asked “What the XXXX is going on… It’s always like XXXXing funeral here.” Her mum said that Jenny was pregnant and her dad started shouting “You XXXXing whore. I’ll beat the XXXX out of you. That’ll sort you out.” He pulled his belt out and started beating Jenny and her mum who was trying to stop him. Jenny ran away from home and after walking the streets for a couple of hours went back to Andrew. Ever since she went home once to pack her things while her dad was not there.
However, due to severity of her shouting 2 days ago, one of Andrew’s neighbours reported the couple to police for domestic violence. But, upon the arrival of the police both Andrew and Jenny denied any violence, and mentioned they just had a normal disagreement between couples.
The police could not take any further action but given that Jenny is pregnant they have referred the case to family and children services, and your manager has just assigned this case to you.
What are some of the key issues here?
What are the vulnerability factors in relation to Jenny?
What are the risk factors involved for Jenny and her unborn child?
Why doesn’t Jenny just leave? and why does she deny any incident of domestic violence?
Why is she so protective toward Andrew and their relationship?
What is the appropriate course of action for you? and what will you do?
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