Penny and Alister are married with four small children. While Penny works at night and Alister during the day, they co-ordinate the care of the children. When the daily grind becomes overwhelming Alister begins to drink to excess. One night when Penny is in fear for her own and her children’s safety she calls the police. Police apply for an intervention order which would exclude Alister from the home. Penny doesn’t want this, as she cannot work if Alister is not at home with the children, she cannot afford to lose her job.
Alister attends court on the day, but does not obtain assistance from a duty lawyer. Fortunately, the Magistrate is persuaded by Penny’s concerns and grants an order that allows Alister to be at home if he is not alcohol or drug affected. This goes well for 12 months and the family settle back in to ‘normality’. However, when Alister’s mother dies he starts drinking again and one night a neighbour call the police. This occurs when COVID-19 restrictions are in place and everyone is in ‘lockdown’. It is now more important than ever that Penny and Alister keep their jobs.
The police apply to strengthen the current intervention order, by seeking that Alister be excluded from the home under all circumstances. Penny tells police this is not what she wants, she cannot attend work that night and Alister sleeps in the car.
This time Alister seeks the assistance of PCLC duty lawyers. Firstly Alister is to referred to telephone counselling and assistance for his alcohol abuse. Written submissions are made explaining that Alister will need to sleep in his car for the foreseeable future as Penny needs him to be with the children at night so she can keep her job. Emphasis is also placed on the fact that Alister is willing to engage with services to assist with his problem with alcohol and it being his default coping mechanism.
The Magistrates decides to not exclude Alister from the family home. This is his last chance to address his issues that impact so significantly on his family.