Hidden Voices Series- Young women and girls affected by domestic violence

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This new project, from Citizen Coaching and Counselling supports access to talking therapies for young people who have witnessed domestic violence of a parent/guardian, or themselves been victims of this. Young people who have experienced domestic violence in their own intimate relationships (i.e. partner abuse) are also able to access the service. This project is funded by the Tampon Tax Community Fund run locally by Heart of England Community Foundation.

hidden-voices-young-girlThe reluctance of domestic violence victims to seek support is well documented. This will mean that young people who are children of these victims will not be receiving timely support to enhance their own recovery. Early identification and intervention are highlighted as a priority in Birmingham’s domestic violence prevention strategy. This project will help to support this goal by improving earlier access to talk therapies for young people witnessing and experiencing domestic violence.


Research has shown positive outcomes of counselling interventions for children who have witnessed/experienced domestic violence. Pepler et al (2000) found significant improvement in depression, anxiety, emotional and hyperactive behaviour problems following a 10 week peer group counselling programme. Attitudes to aggression can also be a problem in this group, which may explain why they are at increased risk of experiencing domestic violence in their own relationships. We will be providing one to one and weekly group support to young women and girls affected by domestic violence.

Research has shown positive outcomes of counselling interventions for children who have witnessed/experienced domestic violence. Research found a significant improvement in depression, anxiety, emotional and hyperactive behaviour problems following a 10-week peer group counselling programme. Attitudes to aggression can also be a problem in this group, which may explain why they are at increased risk of experiencing domestic violence in their own relationships. Our proposal to provide one to one and group support would ensure that young women and girls have improved health and well being

Background

Domestic violence is a key challenge for Birmingham, with local data showing that Ladywood is the worst affected area in the City. The Birmingham domestic abuse prevention strategy for 2017-2020 states that by the time they reach adulthood, at least 1 in 5 children and young people in Birmingham will have been exposed to domestic abuse. The economic context has exacerbated this challenge, with domestic abuse increasing since 2009. Domestic violence statistics show that 77% of children in need in Birmingham have been exposed to it, compared to 48% of children in need across England as a whole. The largest proportion of reported domestic abuse cases were from Ladywood.

Domestic violence can have a range of detrimental consequences for children and young people, including their social, emotional, behavioural, and cognitive development, and general health functioning effects. Wolfe et al (2003) conducted a meta-analysis of children’s’ exposure to domestic violence on children, finding that 40 out of 41 studies in this area evidenced emotional and behavioural problems.
Although counselling is available via the GP, this is short term and often based around CBT. Our longer term counselling and peer support group intend to provide a more permanent solution.
The Government’s Tampon Tax Fund allocates funds generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. UKCF applied to DCMS for a large grant to set up the Tampon Tax Community Fund, working with its network of Community Foundations to support projects and services run by local groups specifically benefitting women and girls. To date, a total of £6.9 million has been awarded.

Heart of England