A man who by his own admission inflicted domestic abuse on every partner since he was 14 has spoken out for the first time so that others can learn to take responsibility for their actions and break the cycle of violence. Gerald's own childhood was filled with violence and destruction which led him to a life of care homes, detention centres and eventually prison.
Along the way he became dependent on drugs and alcohol but worse than that he developed a propensity for dispensing mental torture and physical abuse on every woman he was in a relationship with. The very real chance that he would not get any access to his son from a previous relationship prompted him to take up a lifeline thrown to him by his social worker to volunteer for an intervention programme for perpetrators of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Perpetrators Programme (DVPP) was the first-ever community co-ordinated programme provided in Northern Ireland for domestically violent men who attended the programme on a voluntary basis rather than being order to attend by the courts.
Gerald said the 30-week course is not the be-all and end-all to eradicating domestic violence but it has given him a second chance at life. He said:"It is hard when you are forced to look at your life right from your childhood because mine wasn't good and then analysis your behaviour but I am glad I stayed with it.
"For the first time in my life I was forced to think about what I did and it made me realise that it was down to me how I behaved."