Children Services

The devastating effects of domestic abuse on victims are well documented, but what about the impact on children and young adolescents who live in the background and witness the abuse?

The NSPCC estimate 1 in 5 children in the UK are at serious risk of long-term physical and mental health problems having witnessed or been exposed to domestic abuse during their childhood.

DAVSS have supported more than 5,700 clients since 2011, in the background we are aware of more than 7,700 children and young adolescents witnessing the abuse.

Children may never forget the experience but they can learn healthy ways to deal with their emotions and memories as they get older. The sooner a child gets help, the better his or her chances for becoming a mentally and physically healthy adult.

DAVSS takes an active and positive role supporting children affected by witnessing domestic abuse. We promote and deliver several programmes aimed specifically at helping children and adolescents to develop coping strategies where they have faced the trauma of domestic abuse.

DAY Programme:

The Domestic Abuse Awareness for Youth programme (DAY) is an educational multi-media approach to helping young people understand the difference between healthy and abusive relationships. It is aimed at young people over the age of 14 but can be adapted for use with young people over 11yrs old.

The full programme has 10 sessions and uses a range of methods including videos, music, quizzes and discussions.  This can be as short as one session and tailored to the specific requirements of the school.
The programme aims to:

  • give young people knowledge and understanding of domestic abuse, its cause, who it happens to and its effects.
  • enable young people to recognise abusive tactics and behaviours to protect themselves from potentially abusive people.
  • enable young people to recognise non-abusive behaviours to build healthy non-abusive relationships.
  • equip young people to know where to seek help and support for domestic abuse issues.

Children’s Freedom Programme:

Children who live in abusive homes learn to become self-reliant, many feel powerless to act and the resulting trauma impacts all aspects of their life.

Although every child & young person will react differently, some children or young persons may:

  • become anxious or depressed
  • have nightmares or panic attacks
  • start bed-wetting
  • have temper tantrums
  • complain of tummy aches or other physical symptoms
  • become argumentative & aggressive
  • develop an eating disorder
  • experience problems at school (truanting, bully, homework, being isolated)
  • abuse drink or drugs (older children)
  • have low self-esteem

This programme aims to help children of age 5 to 10. They attend 8 x one hour sessions. Each session is designed to be fun & creative but help children to understand abuse, learn how to trust and when to reach out for help.

ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Adult & Child Recovery Toolkit Programme:

A programme for survivors of domestic abuse and their children aged between 8 & 18.
Adults attend 10 x 2 hour weekly sessions to better understand the trauma they have faced and help rebuild their confidence. The sessions include:

  • Understanding and living with ACE
  • Developing parental resilience
  • Understanding toxic stress and strategies to manage it
  • Understanding attachment
  • Nurturing parenting styles
  • Managing emotions
  • Developing strategies to reduce the potential impact of ACE on children

When the adult’s programme has been completed, the adults support the children through a similar programme (toxic stress, managing emotions, connections, coping strategies & self-esteem). The sessions can be group-based or involve creative activities to enable & allow children to develop resilience and more positive relationships.

If you want to find out more about these or other programmes organised by DAVSS please follow this link or email [email protected]