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How to work with Children and Young People on VAWDASV

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      We’ve put together the following appendix for group 3 training on the impact of VAWDASV on children and young people. Let us know if there’s anything else you’d like it to cover or if you have any questions.

      It is estimated that 1 in 5 children experience domestic abuse in their childhood and that 1 in 20 children have been sexually abused. 25% of young women have experienced physical violence and 72% have experienced emotional abuse in their own relationships, and 70% of girls’ aged 11–21 say sexism is so widespread it affects most areas of their lives. In a school of 1,000 children, made up equally of both genders, 250 of the girls and 180 of the boys will have experienced some form of violence from their boyfriend or girlfriend. These experiences can negatively impact children and young people’s mental health, well-being, academic attainment and their relationships lasting well into adulthood.

      Children who have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse generally speak about being:

      • Scared, confused, upset, anxious
      • Sad, guilty, helpless, betrayed, powerless
      • Angry, violent, frustrated, wanting revenge
      • Unable to concentrate at school
      • Unable to sleep
      • Unable to talk about it, keeping it a secret

      They also show physiological signs as a result of the abuse.

      Intervention and prevention

      Prevention, early intervention, and specialist support for children and young people are pivotal to achieving long term change. Educational settings have been acknowledged by research as an important environment where positive attitudes towards gender equality and healthy, respectful relationships can be fostered through a rights based approach:

      1. The Whole Education Approach

      The Good Practice Guide: A Whole Education Approach to Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence in Wales, was developed by the Welsh Government in conjunction with Welsh Women’s Aid to provide a guide for schools on how to develop and successfully deliver a Whole Education Approach to promoting gender equality and respect to challenging violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

      1. Estyn: A Review of Healthy Relationships Education

      Estyn: A review of healthy relationships in education, was published in response to a request for advice from the Welsh Government in June 2017 and states that key messages around healthy relationships are embedded in the curriculum and reinforced regularly.

      1. The Future of Sex and Relationship Education in Wales

      In March 2017 an expert panel was established to help inform the development of The Future of the Sex and Relationships Education Curriculum in Wales as part of the Health and Wellbeing Area of Learning Experience (AoLE). The recommendations were published in December 2017 and support an inclusive, holistic approach to tackling SRE in schools.

      Tools to support the delivery of healthy relationship education

      There are several tools and programmes currently available to support the delivery of healthy relationships education in schools.

      1. The Spectrum Project

      The Spectrum Project is funded by the Welsh Government and offers an all-Wales approach to tackling the importance of healthy relationships in schools, whilst raising awareness of violence against women, sexual violence and domestic abuse.

      2. Agenda

      Agenda Wales is a free educational resource developed with young people, for young people aged 11-18 to creatively challenge gender inequalities and oppressive gender norms as the root cause and consequence of violence against women and girls, transphobia and homophobia. The resource contains a number of free activities and lesson ideas all with equality, diversity and social justice at the heart.

      3. S.T.A.R (Safety, Trust and Respect)

      S.T.A.R is a suite of services for professionals working with children and young people across Wales who have had direct or indirect experience of domestic abuse. Group programmes offer children of all ages up to the age of 25 the opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and its effects, identify what constitutes a healthy relationship, tackle self-esteem and emotional well-being and more.

      How to support children and young people who want to disclose / talk to someone

      When talking about any form of domestic abuse around children and young people it’s important to be prepared for a potential disclosure. Below are some points to consider:

      • Always ensure that there is a school counsellor or pastoral care support worker available if you’re leading training in an educational environment to support any child or young person who needs it
      • Prepare a list of local specialist services to provide adequate sign-posting
      • Offer the opportunity for one-to-ones
      • Provide a ‘health warning’ of content
      • Allocate a nearby, quiet space children and young people can use if they need it
      • If possible, connect with a local Child Domestic Abuse Worker who can attend triggering training sessions with or around children and young people
      • Be flexible – bring forward breaks if needed
      • Use appropriate language

      National helplines

      • Live Fear Free (24hrs, doesn’t show up on phone bills, free) 0808 8010 800
      • Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
      • Broken Rainbow: 0300 999 5428

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