We've teamed up with the NSPCC to offer a recovery program to help mothers and children who have experienced domestic abuse.
Contacts to the NSPCC helpline about children living in homes with domestic abuse have increased by a monthly average of 49 per cent since national lockdown measures were first introduced.
Latest data shows that in the five months from April there were more than 4,500 concerns raised by members of the public, with 818 contacts in August alone. A total of 351 referrals were made to external agencies in the south east as a result of these calls to our helpline.
This is echoed by the experiences the NSPCC frontline team in Gillingham and child protection agencies that have adopted the charity’s Domestic Abuse Recovering Together (DART) service to work with mothers and children that have suffered domestic abuse.
Over the last six years the NSPCC Centre in Gillingham has worked with 219 mothers and children, helping them talk about their experiences, learn to communicate better with each other and rebuild their relationship.
The service has now been adopted by the Medway Council’s Children’s Services to help reach even more children.
Ensuring all children in Medway receive the best start in life
Cllr Josie Iles, Lead Member for Children’s Services at Medway Council, said: “We work closely with Medway’s vulnerable families to ensure they receive tailored support, where needed. I am pleased that we are also working with the NSPCC to ensure children who have experienced domestic abuse receive the advice and support that they need. We are committed to ensuring all children in Medway receive the best start in life.”
Over the last decade the NSPCC has supported more than 2,000 women and children across the UK with its DART service and around 600 have also been helped by other organisations who have been licensed to deliver the service.
Given the increased need for services like DART to help families deal with the effects of abuse during lockdown the NSPCC is looking to accelerate upscaling the service and asking other organisations to get in touch if they can help deliver it.
The NSPCC saved me and my relationship with my son
Tilly* and one of her sons were referred to DART at the Gillingham Service Centre after sustained domestic abuse by her husband culminated in an attack that left her with a broken nose and cuts to her wrists.
She said: “I didn’t see myself as a domestic abuse victim, but I agreed to attend the two-hour sessions, once a week for ten weeks.
“In week one I didn’t have much to say, but when we got to week five the DART group looked at the controlling and isolating side of domestic abuse, and it hit me that my life had been terrible for years and I was a victim on domestic abuse.
“I realised that there had been a breakdown of communication between my son and I. DART really has helped me and my son a lot. The NSPCC saved me and saved my relationship with my son.”
Organisations that are interested in delivering DART can get in touch with Claire Burns by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
*Name changed to protect anonymity