A COUNCIL support team has helped to turn around a troubled family after a father threatened his two young daughters with a chair.

Councillors heard the Bracknell family were “in pieces” before the Family Safeguarding Model (FSM) successfully intervened to help the group.

Oliver Lamping, domestic abuse perpetrator service coordinator at FSM, said: “The girls had gone into school and had reported that dad was threatening them with a chair.

“They hid under a bed petrified and had to stay there for a period of time while he was threatening them.

“It seemed that there was a lot of activity around domestic abuse – there was talk of a knife being used on one of the daughters.

“Socially they were in pieces.”

The FSM was funded in Bracknell following a grant being received from the Department for Education Innovation Programme.

Since the FSM’s introduction, fewer child protection plans have issued by the council and latest figures showed there has been a 34 per cent reduction in the number of children going missing, with an almost 14 per cent decrease in the number of children looked after.

The service, which is made up of mental health, drug recovery, domestic violence and social workers, was designed to find a way of keeping families together where it is safe to do so using a number of measures.

One of these measures is ‘motivational interviewing’, which is a “collaborative conversation style for strengthening a person’s own motivation and commitment to change”.

And the troubled Bracknell family was supported after this technique and others helped the father to understand the consequences of his actions.

Mr Lamping continued: “There was a parting of the waters when dad heard the voice of the children and just how afraid they were of him.

“That really struck a chord with him because from that point on he started undertaking some of the measures. It was very successful and the parents really hopped on board with the material.”

The FSM team claimed that previously there had been a theme of “male privilege” in the household, with the parent’s son getting most of the attention, whereas the mother and the daughters had been scared of the father.

However, through work with social workers, the father accepted that the family needed some boundaries and he left the home, returning through pre-arranged visits.

Lamping added: “His relationship with his parents made him think this (his behaviour) was normal.

“The mum started speaking about having empowerment. She did not want him to come home and he didn’t.

“He also said he would not return if his daughters did not want him to. That was a real shock to us.”

The family are now moving on with their lives and Mairead Panetta, Operational Lead at FSM, told councillors that the “children are no longer at risk of harm”.

She added: “The children say he is nicer they would like him to come back home. That is the biggest single difference to any family – that they want to be together.”

However, Cllr Malcolm Tullett had reservations about the success of the case study.

He said: “We don’t want to be complacent. Good case studies can create a false sense of security. What can you do to show us there is real improvement?”

Mairead Panetta said updated figures and comparisons with FSMs in Hertfordshire, Luton and West Berkshire Council would be provided next time the team met with borough councillors.

The family’s story was discussed at a meeting of Bracknell Forest Council’s adult social care, health and housing overview and scrutiny committee on Monday, February 4.