Tools for helping children effected by domestic abuse

People working with children in Bristol are going to get extra advice on spotting the signs of domestic violence.

According to NHS Bristol, in families affected by domestic abuse 90% of children are in the same or next room when it is going on. One in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. It is thought that in the UK 750,000 children witness domestic abuse each year.

Ruth Dawes, senior health promotion specialist at NHS Bristol’s Public Health department

“The effect of domestic abuse on children is profound. It distorts family members’
ability to meet their children’s needs in normal responsive ways. In addition it provides an
extremely negative model of behaviour for young children.”

In March, NHS Bristol Public Health and Bristol Early Years and Childcare Services are
launching a new free information pack for early years workers to support them in talking to
children and parents about domestic abuse.

Ruth added: “The primary role of early years staff is to promote the healthy development
of young children. Domestic abuse is prevalent in families and can have a significant
effect on children. Children who witness domestic abuse are being emotionally abused.
We hope these information packs will be helpful in supporting early years’ workers to
identify children living with this situation and support the Children and their non abusive
carer to access appropriate support.”

Early years workers can pick up a pack on

  •  Tuesday March 8th 1.30-3.30pm Woodward Community Resource Centre

Alexandra Park, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2BG

  • Tuesday March 8th 3-5pm Brentry and Henbury Children’s Centre, Brentry Lane

Brentry, Bristol BS10 6RG

  •  Monday March 14th 9.30 – 11.30 Highridge Centre, Lakemead Grove, Highridge

Bristol BS13 8EA

The new domestic abuse information pack includes:

  •  A picture workbook called ‘Talking to my mum’
  •  A DVD about the freedom programme for professionals
  •  An early years practitioners manual
  •  Supporting leaflets and posters
  • A guide to ordering resources

NHS Bristol Public Health also offers two-hour domestic abuse training for early years staff
based on the information pack. Until children feel safe, they continue to suffer. Staff must always consider safeguarding
issues in any family where they know domestic abuse is occurring.The Bristol Children’s Centre Domestic Abuse Response Tool Kit has been developed because of an identified need for Domestic Abuse awareness building and guidance for
early years’ practitioners. The toolkit aims to help Children’s Centre staff understand how domestic abuse impacts
on families and children, and their role in offering support or direction to people who they
think may be affected by domestic abuse. It does this by providing researched information and resources that can be shared
amongst staff and with parents. A two hour awareness building training session for early
years practitioners is also available in order to increase staff’s confidence when dealing with the impact of domestic abuse.