He says he’s “thankful” he sought help before his violence became fatal.
For years, Jerry Retford physically and emotionally abused his former partner, sometimes in front of his children.
Now, the NSW-based director and firefighter says he’s a whole new man — and he has told The Project that lasting change for perpetrators of violence is really possible.
“The one thing I do remember was seeing my oldest child get used to violence in the home. He used to scream and shout and be terrified and ask us to stop,” Mr Retford said. “After some years of experiencing violence in the home, he got used to that being around him and his response became, just walk upstairs to the bedroom, close the door and read a book.”
Mr Retford says he then embarked on a “long and difficult process” of reform, involving two years in a behavioural change course with Relationships Australia.
Now, he says, he is a “decent human being” who can handle stress and anger without acting like “a seven-year-old in a 35-year-old’s body” as he did before.
But he’s paid a price for the years he spent terrorising his family. As he told The Project panel: “I don’t have any contact with my kids now.”
Helliar appeared to briefly struggle with naming Mr Retford’s abuse during the program — referring to Mr Retford’s “I guess, violence” at one point.
But Bickmore asked some hard-hitting questions, probing Mr Retford about how he felt when he read news reports about the death of 11-year-old Luke Batty, whose father killed him during cricket training last year.