Prison best for son: Mum

By Anna Ferrick

The mother of a man who has been jailed for assaulting her, breaching a protection order she had in place, says she does not feel the order has been much of a deterrent and prison is the best place for him right now.

Anthony John Fredricksen, 24, was sentenced to nine months in prison at Napier District Court yesterday, for the assault on his mother and for an assault on a nurse at a mental-health facility where he was a patient.

Fredricksen pleaded guilty on June 28 to both assaults and breaching the protection order.

At 2.15pm on April 24, Fredricksen's mother, Deborah Fredricksen, was driving him to the Hastings District Court when he became annoyed with her. He kicked the car's steering wheel, forcing her to pull over. Once the car had stopped, he punched his mother in the head about four times with a closed fist as she tried to protect herself with her arms.

In the other assault Fredricksen was in the mental health unit at Hawke's Bay Hospital on February 3 when he assaulted a nurse.

He lunged at her as she was speaking to another patient, punching her once, "extremely hard" in the face and causing her to stumble across the room.

The nurse suffered a fractured cheekbone and severe bruising to her face and neck.

Ms Fredricksen applied for the protection order in November 2005, prompted by her son's health issues, and said in the seven years since it had not been much of a deterrent.

"It does give the courts a bit more pull though; they can give harsher penalties, which is good."

She said as far as keeping her safe it was a difficult situation because of the relationship.

"He's my son, I can't just cut off contact with him. There have been a few issues with breaches of the order but having it means the courts have a bit more pull.

"It does also make him aware not to let himself get to that point; even if he threatens me, it's my choice whether or not to have contact with him.

"If I tell him to leave he has to leave."

Ms Fredricksen, who also has a protection order against her ex-partner, said the orders give her "control" in any situation she may become involved in.

"It gives me the power. I will keep them in place for the rest of my life, I can't imagine myself removing them."

It got more complicated when the protection order was not explicitly non-contact, as was the case with her son.

Ms Fredricksen said she had been forgiving in the past.

Now, however, she thought that being behind bars was probably a good place for him to be.

"If he's in there a bit longer they can continue to monitor him in a controlled environment, it gives him extra time to see how he's going to settle."

In sentencing, Judge Tony Adeane said Fredricksen's mother had taken the "rough with the smooth" in terms of their relationship but was entitled to look to the courts for protection.

Detective Sergeant Darren Pritchard, head of the Hastings Family Violence team, said protection orders were designed to give the power back to the people at risk, but didn't necessarily mean keeping people apart.

"My team work with lots of people who have protection orders and have stayed in their relationships. What that means is that most people love whoever they have an order against but they don't want the violence."

Mr Pritchard said protection orders were effective and gave the power back to people who had been victimised in the past.

"Breaches do happen but we will hold that person accountable when they do."

He had noticed an increase in applications for protection orders in non-intimate relationships, including mother and son type scenarios. He said it indicated a change in the way people were thinking about family violence.

"The campaigns have played a huge part in that. It's been a slow change but the tolerance level is decreasing. We have members of the public ringing police; neighbours, loved ones, friends, all ringing up to report family violence." Mr Pritchard said it was important to remember a protection order was only a piece of paper but it was the reporting of breaches that made it effective.

"If someone with a protection order against them is asked to leave, they have to leave, if they don't they are breaching that protection order and can be arrested."


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