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Helping young people who witness domestic abuse

December 12, 2013

Violence and Domestic Abuse is a subject that is all too easy to avoid and not talk about, writes Big Lottery Fund Policy and Learning Adviser David Rowlands.

BIG_B_BLU_screenDespite this, it is something that affects people from all walks of life, regardless of age, wealth and gender. It is something that can take many forms including physical, emotional and sexual. Current statistics highlight that domestic abuse affects around 1 in 4 women as well as 1 in 6 men.

I felt really privileged to recently attend a National Domestic Abuse Conference and see all the good work that is undertaken by a number of people whose work on a day to day basis literally saves lives. Some of the stories given were truely harrowing and highlight how this is an issue that needs to be tackled today.

What was also stark was the effect that domestic abuse can have on children who witness it. This impact can range from high levels of anxiety and sleepless nights to lower educational attainment as well as more serious problems such as self harm and alcohol or drug misuse.

In the longer term, there is a link between a child’s likelihood of becoming involved in abusive relationships as they grow older, whether as a victim or a perpetrator. Statistics highlight that in 90% of domestic abuse incidents, a child is present or in an adjacent room. It is therefore distressing to imagine the thousands upon thousands of children that are carrying this burden every day in Wales.

The Big Lottery Fund is pleased to offer a funding opportunity that is hoping to help tackle this. A contract of £2 million is available to provide co-ordinated and holistic support to children and young people to:

• improve their confidence to seek help
• improve their feeling of safety
• improve their understanding of appropriate behaviours
• prevent children developing perpetrator behaviour or becoming victims themselves.

Funding is available for an organisation to run a project over five years to develop, implement and learn from interventions that it can deliver across two areas in Wales. It is hoped that the lessons learned from this project can inform wider practice across Wales. Interested parties should visit the Big Lottery Fund Website to view details of this opportunity.

Finally, if anyone is affected by domestic abuse, or knows someone who is, please contact the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 for help and support.

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