true crime

"My son is a teen criminal, and people tell me it's my fault."

Get off your back and close your legs for 5 minutes to do some parenting, you poor excuse of a mother. Set an example, your son is a little c*nt. Your problem is now the world’s problem. Thanks.

That’s the message I got on Facebook after an online vigilante group named and shamed my son. My son Jake* is 16 years old, and for the past year, he’s been in and out of juvenile detention. It started out with a trespass charge.

And now he steals cars – luxury cars… Apparently millions of dollars worth.

Jake’s spent the best part of the past year locked up, and is currently inside.

He doesn’t see what his crimes do to everybody else around him. Our house is severely damaged by police from repeated raids with and without search warrants. The neighbours hate us. Me and Jake, and visitors to our house are pulled over leaving our street and regularly searched by police. A neighbour even told a visitor to our house not to “hang around over there cause you’ll end up in jail too”. What a wanker.

A lot of people want to blame me for my son’s crimes, they always say it’s the parents’ fault. But do they know what it’s like to be the parent of a teenager driving a high powered v8 sports car in a police chase clocking speeds most people will only read about? All with the lives of half a dozen other young teenagers in their hands?

Do they know why or what drives my son to break the law? I want to tell them a bit more about our lives.

Ten years ago, we were just like any other family. My husband and I thought we were pretty lucky, with three healthy children. That all changed very quickly. Jake’s younger brother and sister were diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. It’s classed as a terminal illness.

Just as we were struggling to cope with that news, my husband was diagnosed with melanoma. It was already very advanced. Jake watched his father die very slowly and painfully at the age of 10.

Paula. Image supplied.
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I tried to get him to see a counsellor but he’s not the kind of kid that wants to go and talk to somebody he doesn’t know.

I can totally understand people being pissed off about having their hard earned cars stolen. But these lads, whilst doing adult crimes, are still children. Their brains haven’t matured yet, they don’t react the way adults do. And so a very expensive game begins

When kids are told constantly they’re bad or no good then that’s what they think. It just pushes someone who’s struggling on that line of good and bad, right over the edge.

I worry about the stress on him. Everyone expects him to fail. Only Jake can prove them wrong. He’s almost seventeen, and that means he could face going to big boy’s jail.

Believe me, sometimes I want to just lock the door and say to Jake, I can't do it anymore. But every time I feel that way, I also know he's still my son. He's always going to be my son.

Hear from Paula, Jake, and members of the vigilante group on The Feed at 7.30pm tonight (Wednesday 17 May) on SBS VICELAND.

*Names have been changed for legal reasons

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