Imagine being a child and having experienced hearing your Mum being abused by your Dad for as long as you can remember. How as a child do you process and make sense of this? Even once the abuse has stopped, how can the non-abusing parent help you to understand the truth about abuse in a way that you can understand it? How can your non-abusing parent help you to feel safe?
Having a right understanding will help you as you grow and learn more about the world and relationships. It will also help you as you decide what are and are not the right ways to treat people and to allow people to treat you, impacting all your future relationships. By donating to our ‘Healing Together’ project you will not only be supporting a course that enables non-abusing parents to learn how to best support their children as the family exits a domestic abuse situation, but also helps both parent and child in their individual healing journeys and helps children to form a good understanding of healthy relationships.
Why is the project needed?
The effects on a child of witnessing domestic abuse are myriad and the non-abusing parent sometimes finds it difficult to help their child to recover from what they’ve seen, heard and experienced. TDAS knows that early intervention in these situations can make a real and lasting difference to the child; how they feel about their experiences and how they move forward in their own lives. It can also make it much less likely for them to go on to be a perpetrator themselves or enter their own domestic abuse relationship. For the parent, seeing their child cope better and become more resilient can be a huge weight off their mind; freeing up their emotional resources to heal and to deal with the practicalities of exiting a domestic abuse relationship. Teaching parents these skills is cost effective as they will continue to apply them long after the course is over; the effects of the abuse are dealt with through learning to talk about it in a safe way together.
Inspiration for the Healing Together Project
We have developed this course after seeing a clear need for it. As we support both adults and children who have suffered from domestic abuse, we regularly see that children could be further helped if their parents were equipped to address some of the children’s questions and to have some emotionally difficult conversations with them. We also see that assisting the parents to more fully understand their children’s thought processes and views about their experiences helps them to better support them in their healing journey and helps the parent to thrive too.
“I need space, as well as Bobby*, to talk about what happened and how it affected us as a family” – parent of a child attending the TDAS R-Space course (*name changed)
“I’d really like to be able to learn how to show my children that I am listening to them and how to communicate the changes that are happening. It would be good to learn how to deal with disagreements and have more confidence to deal with challenging behaviour”- a TDAS client with children
"I know that I matter now!" - Holly* child on TDAS course (*name changed)
"It's not just an educational course but therapy, healing and confidence building" - Sally, after participating in the TDAS True Colours course (*name changed)
Details of the ’Healing Together’ Project
TDAS want to offer a new programme for children and their non-abusing parent to complete together. Building on the established and successful programmes currently run by TDAS which help adults and children heal from domestic abuse, the new ‘Healing Together’ programme will join these elements with additional elements to support the family. At the same time as learning about and healing from domestic abuse the parent/child bond will be strengthened as opportunities for important conversations are created, understanding within the family is bolstered and a shared narrative is developed; as a platform for allowing each family member to move forward.
- separate children’s and adult's interactive group work based on tried and tested TDAS courses
- Understanding the impact of domestic abuse on both individuals (parent/child)
- Exploration of parent and child roles
- Understanding attachment
- Parenting skills
- Exploring the relationship
- Developing and building the relationship
- Family bonding
- Dreams and plans for future
- Video keepsake for family – what we value in each other
We would like to offer this new course to a group of 6 parents and their children over a 12 week period. We expect the additional benefits of the course to be peer support and reduced isolation. We have found that these benefits of group work are extremely important to course participants. Often friends and family may want to help but knowing people who’ve been through a similar situation can be hugely beneficial, allowing the parent to feel understood and not alone. If we receive enough funding for run the course we expect to start the course in June 2020.
Who we are
Trafford Domestic Abuse Services (TDAS) is a charity that helps those suffering from domestic abuse in the Trafford area of Greater Manchester. We offer a variety of crucial services including accommodation, work supporting people within the community and work with children and young people who’ve experienced domestic abuse in the home or in their own domestic abuse relationship. We also offer training to professionals, such as health and social care, so that incidences of domestic abuse are dealt with well by these practitioners. We work in schools to educate young people about healthy relationships. TDAS has been established for 30 years and has helped many people. Last year we were able to assist over 1,400 people. We’ve been nominated and have won awards for the quality of our work and have great relationships with statutory agencies, local organisations and third sector providers; we work in partnership where possible to maximise the effectiveness and cost efficiency of our work. We hold the Women’s Aid National Quality Standard.
Please support this important project by donating what you can to help us bring this course to families who really need it! Supporting parents in this way is very cost effective. It takes a lot of courage to flee domestic abuse, together we can help families heal well and develop a shared understand that will be hugely important as they move forward together.