Risk and Consequences of Abuse
Domestic abuse constitutes around one in five violent crimes. Research has shown that perpetrators of domestic abuse frequently commit other crimes. Young people living in homes where there is domestic abuse are 50 times more likely than their peers to turn to drugs and alcohol, more likely to have low self esteem, and achieve poorer academic results.
“Latest scientific research states that children exposed to domestic violence are just as adversely affected in terms of their brain development, as children who are directly subjected to domestic violence” – “The Enemy Within: 4 million reasons to tackle family conflict and family violence” (4Children, 2011).
“Children who have witnessed DA and been abused show the highest levels of behavioural and emotional disturbance”
Preventing Future Abuse
Helping shape the future for children and young adults is crucial to preventing abuse. While there has been specialist support for children living in refuges, there was previously none for children and young people living in the community. Too many children affected by domestic abuse were left to deal with this trauma on their own.
To respond to this need the specialist group work programme, based on the Canadian programme, was developed in November 2008. In addition BWA delivers a universal programme within schools based on the ‘Expect Respect’ work developed by Women’s Aid Federation of England (WAFE). BWA provides more specialised sessions, Teenage Choices and Group work, if children are identified as living with domestic violence. If a child or young person requires further ongoing support then one-to-one sessions can be offered.
Cases are referred from Children’s Services, Educational Welfare Officers, Behavioural Support Teams and others.