Title: Children’s Centre approach to working with children affected by Domestic Abuse in the home environment

Author: Leslie Renton

Abstract

We intend to present the work around the effects of domestic abuse on children aged 0-5 with families that use the Children’s Centres across Leicestershire.

As a service our current main focus is children under five, however, we do use a whole family approach.  We work directly with the victim/survivor to improve the lives of their children. This is accomplished through using a range of evidence based methods.  These include, one to one work, Solihull (understanding your child and managing their feelings), and the Freedom Programme.

As front line workers we collect a range of evidence both quantitative and qualitative.

  • One to One work evidence shows through data and case studies.  That significant improvement in the lives of children is made through work completed by front line workers.  Front line work includes practical and emotional support, weekly visits, Words and Pictures books for child’s life story, voice work with children and parent and supporting parents to attend meetings with other professionals.  We use a multi-agency approach.
  • The Freedom Programme is a group specific for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.  We do discuss the tactics of the perpetrator and the affects this has on the child.
  • The Feeling Safe programme is a 10 week group recovery programme for children aged 7-15. The group addresses the emotional impact on children who have witnessed domestic abuse in the home, allowing for the individual and unique way each child may exhibit and hold onto this trauma.  Children are supported to understand how their feelings/behaviours may be related to the trauma of past experiences. The programme offers tools to explore experiences and learn how to feel safe again. Children learn ways to manage and process these feelings in a safe and empowering way.  Children are supported to share the burden of their lived experiences and break the silence of domestic abuse. Fun, games and therapeutic activities are used within the sessions to keep children engaged and ensure the experience is enjoyable and age appropriate. The key messages that underpin the Feeling Safe Group are: It is not your fault, You are not to blame, It shouldn’t have happened, You couldn’t have stopped it, and It’s OK to talk about it

The evidence and data that is available around the work frontline workers complete with families, does show good outcomes for children who have experienced domestic abuse within their home environment.  This has informed the way we work as a service and can also be used to help to develop good practice by front line workers across other agencies.

We will be holding an interactive workshop during which we will include a short presentation, a quiz, and several activities.

The presentation will give an overview of one to one work including voice work and Words and Pictures books, Freedom Programme, and Solihull Approach course.  The presentation will also include evidence and data of the outcomes this work has achieved.