What is the impact of domestic abuse?
The impact of domestic abuse on children is underestimated. We often believe children can ‘bounce back’ easily, but this may not always be the case.
According to the Office for National Statistics (2019), 1 in 5 adults aged 18-74 have been a victim of domestic abuse in their childhood. In context, this is about 8.6 million people, and this has only increased over the past few years, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic. Traumatic experiences like these can have a tremendously detrimental impact on a child’s physical and mental health, social skills, and quality of life. At Innovating Minds, we offer trauma-informed training so our facilitators can help these families and children.
Why is safety important?
We sometimes believe that once the child is removed from the abusive situation they can settle into a new and happier life, but even after a child is removed, ongoing family situations such as court hearings or child contact arrangements, as well as their own enduring feelings about the abuse can make a child feel unsafe and/or scared.
When we think about any kind of trauma, we can see them as being a loss of physical or emotional safety, and therefore it is so important to try and create safe environments and safe relationships with these children. By creating the sense of safety, children experience a sense of safety and their body and brain feels safe and calm.
How can we help?
Creating safe therapeutic spaces can help children and families feel safe. Children and families may wish to engage in one to one sessions or group sessions. You can create safe therapeutic spaces by being consistent, being mindful of sensory triggers (i.e. clothing colour, perfume/aftershave smells) and ensuring respect is given to individual coping mechanisms. By creating these spaces, you are enabling their body and brain to feel safe and calm which is a powerful vehicle that supports healing.
Developing safe relationships with children can often take time, but this is time well spent. These relationships can help children process the trauma they have experienced and help them to feel safe. Again, every relationship is different, but some central characteristics include having open, clear, empathic, and consistent communication. Be genuine and curious. By setting up these spaces and creating these relationships, children feel safe, seen, soothed and secure (Dr Dan Siegel). All of which will support the children and family heal together.
The Healing Together Facilitators Training upskills those working with children and young people to confidently deliver trauma informed early interventions in a space the children feel safe, as part of their current role.
For more information about our Healing Together Programme or training to be a facilitator, visit the website here: