We are supporting 16 Days of Action against Domestic Abuse

16 Days of Action against Domestic Abuse is an awareness period dedicated to ending domestic abuse across the world. It is an opportunity to call for changes at an international, national and local level. It begins today, on the 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on the 10 December, International Human Rights Day.  

Last year it was estimated that 1.6 million women and 757,00 men in England and Wales were victims of domestic abuse. Every week it is estimated that two women a week are killed by a current or ex-partner in England and Wales alone (Office for National Statistics UK). We know that the pandemic has only made things worse for people at risk of domestic abuse, the UN reported that calls to domestic abuse helplines had increased five-fold in some countries during the pandemic. 

Sadly, the violence doesn’t stop at domestic abuse. Sexual harassment in public spaces is experienced by many women across the world, and the tragic murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa have only heightened awareness of the danger’s women continue to face.  

71% of women of all ages in the UK have experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space. This numbers rises to 86% among 25 – 34 years old. 97% of 18 – 24-year-old women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. (UN Women, 2021)

More must be done to address domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and the increasing violence against women and girls. For the next 16 Days we will be using our social media to raise awareness about what domestic abuse is, giving insight into how our domestic abuse services work to safeguard victims and children, and demonstrating how and why we need to take action to stop perpetrators reoffending. Over the next 16 days you can expect to see on our social media: 

  • Statistics shining the light on the current state of domestic abuse in the UK. 
  • Insight into the different forms of domestic abuse and what these can look like. 
  • Personal stories from people who have used our services, including perpetrators. 
  • Putting the focus on our specialist work with perpetrators of domestic abuse. 
  • Signposting to helplines/support and other valuable learning resources. 
  • Insight into the impact of domestic abuse on children and young people. 
  • And much more… 

Approximately 400,000 perpetrators per year cause medium and high levels of harm, yet fewer than 1% received specialist intervention that might stop the violence.

Specialist interventions like our Domestic Violence Prevention Programme (DVPP) delivered through our Domestic Abuse divisions, exist to address the abusive behaviours of perpetrators. These interventions allow us to get to the root cause of domestic abuse, helping to stop reoffending. Our domestic abuse services are pioneers in working with perpetrators. In fact, our DVIP division had one of the first Domestic Violence Prevention Programmes to be fully accredited by Respect UK, the national accreditation body in the UK.  

As an organisation that delivers specialist support, we can not only speak up on the issue, but also be part of the solution ahead to creating a safer environment for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. We look forward to talking more about our work with perpetrators later in the campaign. 

Make sure you follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page to stay up to date with our 16 Days campaign. You can find out more about our domestic abuse services here. You can also check out our social media posts from earlier this week dedicated to our domestic abuse services to find out more about their work. 

Our Domestic Abuse Services – Children Therapy

According to Public Health England, over 800,000 children witness domestic abuse a year. A staggering figure that will require huge support to ensure these children still have a healthy and positive development into adolescence. We must support and safeguard young people and children impacted by domestic abuse, as well as addressing the emotional, cognitive and behavioural impact that can be developed from witnessing domestic abuse. Delivering children therapy is just one way we work to address the impact of domestic abuse.

Our Children Therapy is delivered in many different ways, and dependant on age; though most support is delivered through 1:1 sessions. Our service enables children and young people to address the emotional impact of domestic abuse. By offering a safe, consistent and confidential space, children and young people are able to process difficult and confusing experiences. Our play and creative arts therapy sessions are non-directive and child-centred, we encourage young people to explore what best works for them and their needs. You can find out more about this support and how to be referred here.

Today we are sharing the experiences of the children we support, collated and presented by our Children Therapy Practitioners. We hope to give some insight into what support looks like for children and their families impacted by domestic abuse. You can find out more about our range of domestic abuse services here.

The names have been changed to protect the identities of people we support.

Lydia’s support through Children Therapy

In sessions Lydia has mentioned that she feels calm and relaxed and that most of the time she doesn’t really feel like this. Especially when she’s at school she feels overwhelmed with all the noises, the people and busyness of the school day.

In our sessions, we have been identifying the things that Lydia already does to help her find that calmness, especially when she feels like she may be emotionally overwhelmed. Lydia has identified, going to her bedroom for ‘time out’ or to ‘cool off’ as a good thing to do to take her out of an emotional situation. Lydia also uses singing and dancing for the times she has lots of feelings, singing and dancing is especially helpful for when she feels hurt, or that she may say something she doesn’t want too.

I have been working closely with Lydia’s mum in tandem to my sessions with Lydia, to think about things mum could be using at home to support with Lydia’s emotion regulation. Mum recognised that Lydia loves making art and crafts, so they created their own feelings cards so Lydia can safely show mum her feelings. They have also been practising some mindfulness together, such as body scans, nostril breathing and belly breathing. I have been talking to mum about the neuroscience around mindfulness how it can support the left and the right side of the brain to work together, emotion + rationale = wise mind!

For mum this has been something she has found helpful too and has invested in her own self soothing and to help practice her own mindfulness.

Charlie’s support through Children Therapy

Charlie has engaged well with therapy and has attended 9 of his scheduled 12 sessions, he has used the sessions to create a therapy space that is meaningful to him. Charlie has been reflecting on his past experiences of loss and trauma. He reflected that:

‘I have thought about stuff in the past that I have never thought about, and this has helped me to feel better about the past’.

Charlie has used the therapy space primarily for talking and said:

‘this is the calmest I have ever felt, I have found it hard to speak to other people, at school or with mum. Coming to therapy feels good’.

He has been able to express things that he has felt unsure about and been able to identify how he wishes to change parts of his life.

Charlie wishes to continue with therapy and understands that it has a positive impact on his life and his relationships. This was felt too by mum who has said she has found Charlie to be much calmer at home and their relationship, which was fraught at times, is becoming closer. Charlie has been supportive towards mum and her own health needs.

We hope hearing these experiences helps understanding the impact domestic abuse can have on children, and what support can look like. Make sure you continue to follow along with #OurDAServices to find out more about the support of our domestic abuse services. Stay tuned for our 16 Days of Action against Domestic Abuse campaign beginning on 25 November. Follow us here on Twitter, and like our Facebook page.

Putting the focus on our Domestic Abuse Services

Once a month, across the whole of the Recovery Focus group of charities, we dedicate a week on our social media channels to a particular area of our work.  

This week we are focussing on our Domestic Abuse Services. Did you know we deliver domestic abuse services in London and across the Midlands? We have two divisions within our charity that are specialist providers in supporting victims/survivors, children, young people, and perpetrators of abuse. Our domestic abuse divisions are pioneers, who together have over 40 years of specialist experience. In fact, our Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programme delivered by our DVIP division was one of the first to be accredited by the official accreditation body in the UK, Respect. 

Later this week, from 25 November, our domestic abuse services will be taking part in 16 Days of Action against Domestic Abuse, sharing important information and raising awareness about domestic abuse. 

So in the run up to 16 Days of Action, we’re dedicating our social media to sharing information about how our domestic abuse services support and safeguard people with the aim of ending domestic abuse and the harm caused to victims, children, and families.  

Our domestic abuse services deliver support to victims/survivors through 1:1 and group support, children and young people through our children therapy service, and perpetrators of abuse through our Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programme. Our DVIP service also has a specialist Family Courts Team, that offer domestic violence risk assessments in the public and private family courts. In addition, both of our divisions offer a specialist service to young people using abuse towards a parent/carer through our YUVA service. You can find out more about our South based service here, and North based here.

You can find out about the range of support our domestic abuse services deliver here. You can use our find a service tool to find this support in your area.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page to keep up with #OurDAServices. You can also follow DVIP (Domestic Violence Intervention Project) on Twitter, our provider of domestic abuse support based in London and as of recently, Surrey.