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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 4,200 clients since 2011, in the background we are aware of more than 5,500 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.
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.
The full programme has 9 sessions and uses a range of methods such as small group work, role-play and discussions. This can be shorter and tailored to the specific requirements of the school.
The programme aims to:
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:
This programme aims to help children aged between 4 and 10 years. 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.
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:
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.