In the majority of families where there are children, and where abuse is being perpetrated, the children will be aware of this, and will often hear it or see it going on. Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on children and young people that can last into adulthood. That’s why Bexley Women’s Aid’s domestic abuse services offer specialist emotional and practical support for children and young people affected by domestic abuse.
The Children’s Outreach service supports children and young people aged between 7-18 years old who have witnessed domestic abuse and who have moved on from living in an abusive home. Group work with children and young people is a valuable element of support and a range of BWA’s programmes has been developed to meet the needs of children and young people.
The Outreach Children’s Service provides for the needs of children who are living in the community and have experienced or lived with domestic abuse.
Depending on the age of the child and their personal circumstances the child is supported through play provision and given time and space to share their experiences as well as have the opportunity to create safety plans and gain support to overcome the negative impact that domestic abuse is having on their lives.
Direct work sessions are available for children and young people who require one to one support, which allows them some time to be themselves and have fun. They are given the opportunity to share their experiences from their past, present and hopes and dreams for the future.
Children and young people’s needs are responded to at all points of service delivery. Sessions are tailored to each individual’s need and also help in building confidence, self-esteem, anger management, and general positive behaviour.
Many of our referrals to this service come from schools or social workers and often our children’s worker will not only support the child but also offer services to the mother in order to ensure that she is given all of the appropriate information to seek help if she chooses to. Support groups for children affected by domestic abuse are also available within the local community, subject to numbers.
The development of service provision is grounded upon a wealth of expertise and is driven by the voices and experiences, of families who have experienced domestic abuse and accessed support.