Children and young people Rico's Story Day 1: Why was my Dad in handcuffs? Mum picked me up from school, she told me that a man would be following us home. I didn’t know what was going on. Why was there a man following us? When we got home I opened the door. I saw Dad handcuffed on the couch, with police. Dad said: Stay calm, go to your room, everything will be fine. Confused, we went upstairs. Mum came upstairs, she started crying and said “I’m so sorry.” Mum explained to us that the man followed us home to make sure that she did not run off. It was the first time that the police had come to our house. They had Dad in the handcuffs while they searched the house. They didn’t take Dad away this time. I was scared, would they come back again? Three weeks later: The house was a complete mess! I was at home with my Mum, her good friend and my Sister. Mum got a phone call from Dad asking if Mum’s friend could take us to the park. I found out a few weeks later that it was because the police were coming round and they didn’t want us to see that again. We were at the park for about two and half hours, we had our dog with us too. Our dog got really scared last time they came. We had to shut her in a room because she didn’t like all the police and kept barking. We got a phone call from Mum, she said that we could come home now. When we got back Dad wasn’t there. I asked where he was. Mum said that he was going to be staying out that night. The house was a complete mess! Our bedrooms were a mess. Everything was out everywhere. Mum hadn’t told us what had happened. I thought that my parents had an argument, that my Dad had gone crazy. Dad came home the next day. His eyes were red with big black bags. He said he was ok, he just didn’t manage to get enough sleep. We found out about three days later. Both Mum and Dad sat us down and explained that the police were involved with them because they were selling ‘bad stuff.’ I was shocked. I had no idea. A few months later: They took my Dad I had just got in from school, it was around 4pm. All of a sudden I heard banging at my door. Mum and Dad sent us to our room and told us to put a DVD on while they checked who it is. We heard loud shouting. This very big man with armour came into our room. There was about twelve officers in the house, the man just stood at the door. Another police officer came in and said “the man has now gone and all the officers are about to leave” Who was the man? Another officer I thought? Everyone left. Mum came into my room and said: They have taken your Dad. I was really upset, I never got to say goodbye. They could have brought him into my bedroom without the handcuffs to say good bye. Mum kept crying, my sister kept crying. I was really close to my Dad. I cried. I felt scared and worried that they would come back and take my Mum. I was worried about Dad too… worried if he would be ok? I thought that he would be in a jumpsuit behind bars with lots of people shouting and screaming. That’s what I see on TV. 2 months later: Mum isn’t coming back I thought it had all finished - Dad would be out one day and we could all be happy again. I just joined yr7, it was the middle of November, just starting a new term. It was about 8pm at night. “Nonna is going to come over tonight, I have to be at court at 7am” Mum said. I woke up in the morning - a new school day. Mum had left a note. Love you tons, gone to court, see you after school. I felt worried - I thought Mum was going to court for my Dad’s sentence. I got back from school at about 4.30pm- no one was home. I opened the door and went upstairs to get changed. Nonna came in at around 5.30pm. She told me to get ready because we had to go and collect my sister. “Where’s Mum?” I asked. “I need to talk to you both after” Nonna replied. She didn’t answer my question. I felt really worried - what does she need to talk to us about? The same question was going round and around in my head. When we got home my Auntie came over with a family friend. They all sat down to talk to us. “Where’s Mum?” me and my sister asked again. We were told that Mum would not be coming back for a while- we thought that she meant like the next day or something. We were told that they had taken Mum at court and she wouldn’t be back for a few years. I don’t really remember what happened after that. It is all just a blur. The only good thing is that the police didn’t come in the house and take her the same way that they took my Dad. I was really upset. Now both my mum and dad have been taken. I felt shocked for a while. When both my parents sat me down to explain that they had done something which meant that they were in some trouble with the police they told me that if the worst comes to it the police would only take one of them because the police will have to leave somebody to look after me and my sister. I was upset - I didn’t know how long my Mum will be in prison for. Nonna told me that my Dad had been given 6 years. I mean, I could be the one to pick him up from Jail, after all I will be 18. I felt worried for my sister. I felt worried for my Mum. What was her Jail like? My life was turned upside down. I was too upset for school the next day. My first day back at school I wish I was able to say goodbye. Mum couldn’t call for a week. A phone call could have helped. I had nobody to talk to, my friends don’t know. I don’t want to tell them. I just tell them that my parents are away at work. A lady came into my school, my Nonna told me that somebody was going to come in. She is a youth worker from Pact. She is nice. I can talk to her about anything I want. When I see her we do fun activities together like decorate biscuits, play games and draw pictures.