Newport Women’s Aid facilitates group work with children aged 7 -12 years old who have previously lived with domestic abuse, but are now in a settled environment. The children are in one room and the mothers or carer, attend a group in another room and so provide support for their child.
The ‘Hands Off’ Group runs during term times over 10 weeks for 1¼ hours on Tuesday mornings. Families are referred to the group by many different agencies or themselves. The group enables the children to talk about their experiences and feelings in a safe place. Meeting with other children can help them to understand that domestic abuse happens in other families and not just their own.
The group discusses and explores the issues surrounding domestic abuse in a variety of ways, through discussions, reading therapeutic stories, drawing, watching a short animated DVD, showing various stories of families who have been experiencing domestic abuse, model making and trying to generally have fun; starting each session with a game.
Each week, key messages are given out, such as – domestic abuse is never a child’s fault, it’s good to talk about your worries and hands are for helping and not for hurting. We look at children’s worries and safety planning and in the final week each child is given a folder with all the work in to keep for themselves.
The aims of the children’s group are, to:
• Help children express and explore their feelings and beliefs around domestic abuse.
• Help children understand that domestic abuse is not acceptable and is not their fault.
• Allow children the opportunity of sharing with others (if they wish) their experiences, thus helping to ‘break the secret’ of domestic abuse.
• Strengthen self-esteem and identify potential support and strategies for the future.
• Give children a positive experience.
‘At first I was really nervous, but as the weeks went past I really enjoyed it. You get to play games and you will make new friends. You will get to know people who have shared the same experience as you have.’
‘The support I received from Women’s Aid ‘Hands Off’ Group was tremendous. Just listening first and joining in when I felt ready, knowing that I was not on my own, and others had gone through similar experiences. Even in this day and age I found little help available and Women’s Aid was a light in a long and dark tunnel.’
Click on the links below to see our support Services.